Today's Scripture Reading Reflection

Creighton U. Daily Reflection

October 3, 2023
by Barbara Dilly
Creighton University - retired
click here for photo and information about the writer

Tuesday of the Twenty-sixth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 456

Zechariah 8:20-23
Psalm 87:1b-3, 4-5, 6-7
Luke 9:51-56

Praying Ordinary Time


It seems to me that lately a lot of Christians are conflicted when drawing on their faith and considering who is with God and who is not.  I have seen that difference in thinking causes rifts among believers that can split churches.  And I have even seen where it causes conflicts within families.  The readings in Zechariah today remind me of this problem even though they are more about how Jerusalem must live according to her renewed status as covenant people.  It includes everyone who seeks the Lord in the covenant.  Yet I have often heard people argue that they have received more favor than others.  They say that they have received the Lord’s favor to do things they think God wants them to do that are often just what they want to do or think things they want to think.  While that might not seem particularly problematic, their process of prayerful discernment often does not consider the negative effects of their decisions on others.  When met with opposition, rather than work through a process of negotiation and mutual understanding, they hold their positions arguing that God is on their side.  Further, they condemn those who disagree with them as unbelievers.  They justify all this with religious thinking that seems to me to reflect more judgement thinking often found in the Old Testament than the good news of the Gospel found in the New Testament. 

The New Testament lesson today places Jesus squarely in the middle of the burden of that kind of judgement thinking.  Surprisingly, even his disciples were stuck there.  When the Samaritan village would not welcome Jesus because the destination of his journey was Jerusalem, the disciples wanted to call down fire from heaven to consume them.  I am always amazed when I read this.  How did the disciples justify that kind of radical violent action?  Clearly, the Samaritans had their own problems.  But Jesus was not going to make this a power play about who he was and what they needed to do.  He rebuked the disciples and moved on because he addressed problems like this at a much higher level.  There are a lot of complex political issues that surround the context of this story found in Luke, and there are plenty that surround our lives today as well.  But I don’t think they are about which nation God favors or which people God loves.  And they certainly don’t justify calling down fire power to consume our enemies, though we so often do that.  Fortunately for us, Jesus moves us to a new place in history with his story.  He addresses these problems at a much higher level.  His story is about God’s love for all people, not just those who think like us.  It seems to me that when we think and act from the perspective of God’s love for us and all people through Jesus, God is with us. 

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