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Podcast Reflections

Reflection on Luke 12.54-59

Listen to a reflection on Luke 12.54-59, the gospel reading set for DEL Week 29: Friday, 22 October 2021

Reading
Luke 12.54-59

Jesus said to the crowds, ‘When you see a cloud rising in the west, you immediately say, “It is going to rain”; and so it happens. And when you see the south wind blowing, you say, “There will be scorching heat”; and it happens. You hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of earth and sky, but why do you not know how to interpret the present time?

‘And why do you not judge for yourselves what is right? Thus, when you go with your accuser before a magistrate, on the way make an effort to settle the case, or you may be dragged before the judge, and the judge hand you over to the officer, and the officer throw you in prison. I tell you, you will never get out until you have paid the very last penny.’

Reflection

There are so many old wives’ tales that are embedded in our culture. ‘Red sky at night, shepherd’s delight’; ‘Spilling salt brings bad luck’; ‘Terrible things come in threes’ … the list goes on and on. For many, these old wives’ tales are amusing tropes that are recited to amuse and divert. For some, though, they are the basis of a life dominated by meaningless superstition. Of course, old wives’ tales may have some basis in the observation of coincidence, but not all. For example, the old wives’ tale that ‘Eating carrots improves your eyesight’ was really a World War 2 propaganda ploy. The eating of carrots was used to explain the accuracy of our pilots as they flew between England and Germany, an accuracy that was really brought about by a secretly developed radar system. So, whatever other benefits you may derive from eating carrots, it won’t be improved eyesight!

In today’s reading we are hearing of some very different signs. Jesus begins by noting the common coincidences that can be observed in nature, but then he calls those who rely on such folk law as ‘hypocrites’, because they do not recognize the real signs of the times.

Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem, the birth which fulfilled so many of the Messianic prophecies of the Old Testament, was heralded and celebrated with many signs and wonders. As Jesus began his public ministry, so the signs and wonders became increasingly obvious. People travelled far to witness Jesus’ power in action and to be healed, even by the merest touch of his clothes. The days in which Jesus walked this earth was not short of signs, signs that meant something, not just casually observed coincidences.

Jesus, the Son of God, has walked among us. He has conquered death and offered us a gateway to eternal life. To support us on this journey he has sent his Advocate, the Holy Spirit, to inspire, guide and strengthen us on our journey through this life. How many more signs do we need?

Let us set aside our reliance on the nonsensical wisdom of this world and place our trust in God alone. Let us pray that we might be given the strength to remain faithful to the signs that point us along God’s path through this world. Let us continually pray that the Holy Spirit might inspire, guide and give us strength in the face of those who have not yet seen the truth of God’s greatness, as revealed in his Son, Jesus Christ.