Christ has won the victory over Satan! But what a strange and paradoxical victory it is. This week the catechumen to whom the mysteries are being revealed discovers that while, yes, the Lord has won the day, he has done so through the strange means of suffering, pain, and finally shameful death. The Gospel reading at first seems to be a misfire on the part of the editors who selected the readings, but on second look, it is genius.
Jesus grieves over Jerusalem. It has stoned the prophets and killed the one’s whom God has sent to her. But Jesus only knows the love of a parent who longs to hold a foolish child in her arms once more. I have several of those in my parish, parents whose children have made train-wrecks of their lives, ignoring all the wisdom and good advice. They would give anything to hold their child and rescue them from drugs, alcohol, or some terrible marriage which is slowly eating them away. Jesus hates what Jerusalem does, but he loves her still.
He likens himself to a hen. In a few days he will appear before Herod – that fox – who is part of the Roman and Jewish political machine that will kill him. Jesus knows this but he does not turn away. What is wrong with him? Nothing! He loves with a holy love which can only come from God because it is so strong. So he goes to Jerusalem, to preach the truth and die for it like all those who have gone before him. But this time it will be different. The master has sent his Son. They have not changed, but the one they kill will change everything.