Reflecting On Luke 9:51-62
I’ve got good news. Those dusty archaeologists (bless them) who spend their lives digging in the scorching Mediterranean sun have given us a very plausible (and comforting) explanation of that MOST unsettling command in today’s Gospel: let the dead bury their dead. It’s simply this: the burial time for the dead in Jesus’ day was an entire year. After burying the dead immediately (as we saw in the Gospel accounts of Jesus’ own death) the sons “sit shi’va” for seven days. (So the disciple who asks to bury his father before following Jesus wouldn’t even have been around if the death had happened within that week—he would have been at home fulfilling this responsibility.)
But then the corpse is left in the tomb for eleven months, after which the relatives re-bury the decomposed body by taking the bones and placing them in a burial box, an ossuary, and placing it back in the tomb, along with all the other family dead who are in various stages of burial. The tomb continues to fill with the other dead from the family, buried for the first time and then again a year later.
So…what a great relief to consider that Jesus was thinking of all those dead, buried with the other dead, whose death demands kept the sons in endless burial cycles. Let the dead bury their dead. Be at peace. My heavenly Father knows where all the bodies are buried. In just a short time you will see for yourselves what God has planned for My tomb, and yours, and theirs too. Be at peace.
So be at peace.
Sharing God’s Word at Home:
What are the burial customs in your family?
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I have come to light a fire on the earth; how I wish it were already burning (Lk.12:49).
Kathy McGovern © 2014-2015