February 5, 2018

Post-feast of the Encounter; The Holy Martyr Agatha (249-51)

3 John 1:1-15; Luke 19:29-40; 22:7-39

Glory to Jesus Christ! Glory forever!

Today’s reading begins with the entry into Jerusalem. But we quickly continue with a later section of Luke’s gospel, covering the Last Supper, the dispute among the disciples about who is greatest, and Peter’s denial, concluding with the short journey of Jesus and his disciples to the Mount of Olives, where he will be betrayed. Why does today’s gospel cover so much? And why does it skip over several chapters, creating a seemingly arbitrary connection between the entry into Jerusalem and Jesus’ last hours with his disciples?

The answer to this question is that, in truth, nothing in the life, death, and resurrection of our Lord is unconnected with the bigger picture – everything in Christ’s life pointed to the fact that he had come to die for our sakes, that we might be adopted by God the Father. The entry into Jerusalem shows how Christ came as a king, but a king destined to suffer and die for the sake of his subjects. The events of the last supper show the type of Lord that we worship: one who gives himself continually to us in the Eucharist, thus calling us not to lord it over each other, but to imitate his humble self-giving. Throughout his life, in search of the lost, Jesus had been willing to associate himself with public sinners – now, as he prepares for his trial and crucifixion, he reminds his disciples that he will be “numbered among the transgressors” so that he may free us, the transgressors, from our sins.

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