From the first reading from 2 Kings, I understand that God loves and protects Jerusalem and Israel. On the other hand, I find the violent defense (really offense) and horrific massacre difficult to reconcile with the nonviolent Jesus I encounter through much of the Gospels.
I find a similar dissonance between the generally welcoming, inclusive message of Jesus with these passages from Matthew 7 that emphasize challenges and exclusivity. (What I do not understand liturgically is why verses 7-11 of Matthew 7 are omitted. The passage “seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you” strikes me as far more welcoming and inclusive than the chosen passages. But I realize these were decisions made long ago and not capriciously chosen today.) Even so, I appreciate the direct, harsh reminder that everything is not “warm and fuzzy” in our faith journeys. Evil does exist. We must seek justice, sacrifice, appreciate holiness, risk harm and sometimes even death.
Does the “golden rule” of verse 12, “Do to others whatever you would have them do to you” offer us some insight? Killing does not seem to follow this “Law and the Prophets,” but being on the side of vulnerable, marginalized Jerusalem does. Perhaps we need to help others to navigate the narrow road and gate to life, forgiveness, justice, and love – just as we would hope they would do for us.
God, grant us insight, patience, and generosity as we seek to love others as you have loved us and do unto others as we would have them do unto us.
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