At that very hour some Pharisees came and said to Jesus, “Get away from here, for Herod wants to kill you.” He said to them, “Go and tell that fox for me, ‘Listen, I am casting out demons and performing cures today and tomorrow, and on the third day I finish my work. Yet today, tomorrow, and the next day I must be on my way, because it is impossible for a prophet to be killed outside of Jerusalem.’ Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often have I desired to gather your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing! See, your house is left to you. And I tell you, you will not see me until the time comes when you say, ‘Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord.’” Luke 13.31-35
There are places that seem to always be festering, always simmering and sometimes erupting. In my lifetime I have seen that Jerusalem, the most holiest of cities, is one of those places. We can also experience certain relationships in our lives that always seem fraught and always seem to make us uneasy at best. Certain people can be toxic to us, and it may feel as if we are in danger whenever we are around them.
Jesus is warned by the religious leaders. The government is sending agents to arrest and kill him. Knowing how dangerous the city is for him, he still aches for all the people, wanting to protect and nurture them. Despite the real threats of violence, the Incarnate One moves with love and compassion, despite it all. We are invited by God today to respond to threats with compassion and to leave defensiveness behind.
Today I ask God to help me move always towards love and compassion, no matter how anxious and threatening the situation becomes. May we all step away from violence and defense, to a place of compassion and care. May those places and people who have troubled us become gentle places of renewed life.