Too blessed to be stressed – Thursday, 29th Week in ordinary time – Lk 12:49-53
This one knocked me off my feet; the Lord no less is stressed! And he seems really stressed for he exclaims, “What stress I am under”. It seems like the challenges of the modern age also resonated two thousand years ago. So what got our good Jesus so wound up?
Jesus is on the road to Jerusalem and we were given an insight into his disposition. At the end of his Galilean ministry, Luke tells us that Jesus “set his face to go to Jerusalem” (9:51). For Jesus there is no looking back on his calling to the cross. He is resolute in his decision.
Scripture tells us that Jesus was like us in all things but sin so quite clearly he was not exempted from stress, which he so readily admits to. The Greek word for stress mentioned in this text is ‘synecho’ which translates as a distress or a feeling of being squeezed or pressed in. Jesus understands fully the consequences of this resolute march to Jerusalem which he must complete.
However it is not only the Lord who walks resolutely to Jerusalem but even the disciples will have to make this long march. Following Jesus is no walk in the park. The disciple will have to make a clear choice for Jesus who is bound to set them against their own family and friends.
All this is a bit ironic, for one wonders what happened to Jesus the Prince of peace? For Jesus now declares that He has come to bring division and not the peace we were promised at Christmas. The answer lies in the choices Jesus made and consequently the choices we make. It is not that the Lord has become violent; the opposite of peace is war and nowhere has Jesus declared war. He has simply declared that the demands of discipleship force the disciple to leave a settled life of peace and be confronted with the reality of separation and division.
Most of us are enamoured with the prince of peace at Christmas, that little babe in the manger. We would like the story surrounding this day to last forever but that would beat the purpose of salvation history. This babe had to grow and walk resolutely to die for us at Jerusalem compelling Jesus to move from the peace of Christmas to the suffering of the Cross. Even though Jesus declares how stressed He is, He knows we will be blessed by it.
Fr Warner D’Souza
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