First Sunday of Lent – Cycle C
Reflecting on Luke 4: 1-13
I always get a little chill when I think about that single instant in which Satan showed Jesus all the kingdoms of the world. It’s fascinating to consider what the evangelist thought Jesus saw. Luke knew about ancient Egypt and Greece, but he had no idea that there were civilizations unknown to him (but not to Satan, apparently) far to the east that had been flourishing for over two millennia.
I don’t imagine that Jesus, who was present at the creation of the world, was surprised when Satan showed him North China, or the Indus Valley, or Africa, or even the kingdoms of the Americas, the existence of which would not even be known by people in the Middle East for another 1400 years. Those histories, which are still unfolding through the work of archaeologists and nature’s own ingenious way of revealing the past, were certainly in the mind of God before the beginning of time. The spooky part is that they are in Satan’s mind too.
And what did Jesus see, in that instant, of the kingdoms to come? The fall of the Roman Empire, the vast reach of Islam, the “New World” and its diverse indigenous peoples, the bloody revolutions, the abundant harvests, the great cities and the thousands of agrarian communities were revealed in an instant. He saw the “little man” of Assisi. He also saw Auschwitz.
Three years later, after Satan had returned to enter Judas and to sift Peter like wheat (Luke 22), Jesus saw it all again, this time from the hill of Calvary. And all creation, from the beginning until the end, whispered with the Good Thief, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”
How do you feel when you think about Jesus seeing you from the cross?
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I have come to light a fire on the earth; how I wish it were already burning (Lk.12:49).
Thanks, Kathy, for asking that question…as many Lents and Good Fridays as I have seen come and go, I have never put myself in Jesus’ heart AT THAT TIME, or realized that he may have suffered for me or because of me, personally…it does stir my heart and certainly gives me a bigger sense of responsibility for my life. One of the mysteries of your question is that would would happen if we change now; can we change what might have been? That is, if we do now what would have brought more suffering for Jesus, versus bring about what would would have brought comfort and healing to his wounds, does it mean that we could change how much He would have suffered? All I can think of as an answer is that Jesus is still the suffering Jesus for our sakes, and does know joy and comfort when we soothe and comfort the wounds of others around us. A suffering, wounded person (Jesus) is so sensitive, as are all of us as his people. We must take care of each other tenderly.
I don’t know. This is a heavy question. A tough question.
My instinct says do not think about it much because it’s too much.
Having said that, I believe I need to re-visit this question over and over again until I come even to the beginning of a resolution.
Kathy, you are indeed a spiritual provocateur extraordinaire.