December 11, 2017

Our Venerable Father Daniel the Stylite (493)
Nativity Fast. Day of fast.

2 Timothy 2:20-26; Luke 19:37-44

Glory be to Jesus Christ!

Today’s gospel is about Jesus coming into Jerusalem as King. His disciples, to the annoyance of the Pharisees, acclaim him as the “king who comes in the name of the Lord.” They believed that he was coming to establish the kingdom of God immediately. And, in a sense, that was true; but the words of the disciples, and of Jesus himself, show that he entered Jerusalem, the ancient capital of King David, as a king of peace.

So often, it is tempting to look for a quick solution to our problems, to compromise our principles, to let the ends justify the means. That was a great temptation for the Jewish people, and some eventually gave into it, leading to a violent revolution in a vain attempt to gain liberty from Rome. In today’s gospel, Jesus weeps over the suffering that revolt will cause: the things that make for peace are hidden from the people’s eyes. However, the fact that Jesus comes as king of peace does not mean he is passive. To bring about his kingdom of peace, Jesus takes action against evil, but not on evil’s terms. He doesn’t fight the Roman Empire with its own weapons; rather, he comes to Jerusalem to lay down his life, to be a sacrifice to the Father in the place of every true Jewish sacrifice. Jesus’ kingdom does have consequences for this ‘secular’ world (this will be totally clear when he comes again in glory) but these consequences only can have their true and lasting effect if we recognize the primacy of his victory over evil not through human power but through his death on the cross.