Monday, March 27, 2023 – Luke 19:1-28
Almost 20 years ago, I had the opportunity to charter a fishing boat in Hawaii. The day before the captain had shared that great fishing was taking place just a couple miles off the coast. The captain guaranteed me that I’d have some great fish stories, and a few nice fish to take home for a special dinner with my new bride.
Being a new husband, excited to show my bride my excellent fishing gifts, and with groceries purchased for a special gourmet fish dinner to follow in hand, we set off for the day's adventure. I had big expectations. Eight hours later we returned to the port with no fish, a sunburn, mild dehydration, and a few hours of mild seasickness from rough seas.
The disciples and the followers of Jesus had great expectations also. In our readings today, the disciples had journeyed with Jesus for several years now. Stopping at a tax collector’s house was not a new experience. They had heard Jesus speak about a kingdom coming and knew from Zacchaeus’s house that they were on their way to Jerusalem. The disciples expected Jesus and this new kingdom to come in their presence in Jerusalem.
Pause for a moment…Just think we are two weeks from celebrating Palm Sunday, a day when we waive palm branches, just like the believers of Jesus day, praising him as Jesus entered Jerusalem. The disciples, like us, have great expectations for Jesus.
The Kingdom of God was at hand, but the disciples would see it established by blood on a cross, and not by glory. Jesus had shared, if only they had listened, about the suffering that was to come to him. This had not met their expectations. Jesus was establishing a new kingdom, but it would be one only seen by faith.
Like the disciples, we expect that following Jesus will mean things will go well for us. Then the problems come. Sickness comes our way, and to the people we care about. Our children get into trouble. Our good friend passes away. Naturally, we begin to see our trust wane in God and we feel guilt, grow anxious, and sometimes grow unsatisfied with how things have turned out. Like the disciples, we begin to wonder what kind of king Jesus is anyway.
Going back to the fishing trip with my bride, I had great expectations. As I look back on that day, I realize that I caught something bigger than any fish could have given me. I landed a great memory of a day with my wife. That memory has continued to give back to me and will last a lifetime.
As we wait with expectation for our Lord’s return, we can be confident and grateful to him. We have this treasure, by faith, about the coming Kingdom. We see this lived out every time we gather around the Lord’s table and in baptism. At the end of Matthew’s gospel, Jesus promises his followers, “And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
Questions for reflection:
- How do people you know misunderstand Jesus?
- What are expectations you have of yourself? Others? The Church?
Lord, remind me today about the wonderful promises that surround me and my life. Lord, I am sorry for always doubting the way you move through my life and through the many experiences, good and bad. I don’t always understand your ways. Help me to see with eyes of faith, in every circumstance, of your kingdom breaking through. Amen