Luke 19: 45-48 Hanging On His Words
“Come to me, all you who labor and are heavy burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Mt 11:28)
“There is no greater love than this, to lay down your life for a friend.” (Jn 15:13)
“I give you a new commandment: love one another.” (Jn 13:34)
“This son of mine was lost and has been found; he was dead and has come back to life.” (Lk 15:24)
All the people were hanging on his words. The above quotes are my all-time favorite from Christ. I have many more, but these are the words of eternal life that come to mind this morning. The people huddled around Jesus to catch every single word. Today, we are bombarded by words, written and spoken, that speak very little to us. All the major magazines - “Newsweek”, “Time”, “US News and World Report” – have a section filled with the month’s most worthy quotes. They have meaning, purpose and substance for the most part, but they do not speak to me in the way the Lord does.
What makes the Lord’s words so remarkable? The simple, and yet profound, answer is: they come from God. When Jesus speaks, it is God speaking to man, to his most beloved and pitiable creature.
What gives weight to the Lord’s word? Why were the people hanging on every word spoken by him? First, Jesus inspires us towards greatness – heaven. And because of him, we lift up our hearts to the Lord! The Lord does not knock down unless he plans to rebuild. He called us sinners and perverse, but he never ever called us unworthy or worthless. Instead he called out to us, by name, and called us “friends”. He told us, “Come to me.” The Lord never degrades us and neither should we. When he spoke not a word to Pilate or to Herod, it was because it would not make a difference. It would do no good. But he refused to condemn either of them. Instead, he said the truth: “You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above.”
What makes the Lord’s words so remarkable? He always follows through. “How sweet to my taste is your promise!” (Ps 119:14) Why did the Apostles follow Jesus all the way, even to their death? Why did the Apostles leave everything and everyone behind to follow him? Why did the Apostles endure sleepless nights, pain and suffering, hardship and frustration and difficulty? The simple and downright answer to this is: the Lord never broke a promise. “I will be with you till the end of time!” And even today, the Lord keeps his promise through his gift of the Holy Spirit, but in a very human and humble manner through his priests. But the kicker, the most amazing and unfathomable way, is through the Eucharist.
If you have some time today, read and meditate on your favorite quote from the Lord. Of course all Scripture is sacred, inspired, and in no need of correction. It does not necessarily have to be from one of the Gospels. The Lord spoke through the words of St. Paul as well as through the other Apostles and disciples. I invite you to hang on every word, digest it, reflect upon it, but most importantly, live it unconditionally and hang on to the promise that was made by Him.
Christ, Rising Sun, warm us with your rays and restrain us from every evil impulse. Keep guard over our thoughts, words, and actions, and make us pleasing in your sight this day. We ask this in your name. Amen. (Friday Morning Offering, WK I)