Today’s reading is a strange one, which takes some careful thought to understand. It begins with a group of Pharisees warning Jesus of Herod’s intention to kill him. We are not sure why they would do this, but their words are significant: “Get away from here if you want to live!” What they didn’t realise is that living was not the first priority on Jesus’ agenda – loving was. Jesus uses metaphors, in his response, that show where his commitment lay.

To begin with he refers to Herod as “that fox” and the people of Jerusalem as “chicks.” Of course, foxes are predators for chickens, and so this is a clear warning of the danger Herod posed to the people of Israel at that time. Herod ruled as king under the authority of Rome and was seen as a traitor to his people. Any resistance to his rule would be quickly and ruthlessly dealt with. Jesus, on the other hand, seeks to be like a mother hen to the people – protecting them even with his own life. Yet, the people seem determined to avoid his way of peace and life and embrace their own destruction.

Nevertheless, what is amazing here is the way Jesus, reading the signs of the situation very clearly, remained committed to love, knowing it would take him to his death. The challenge this raises for us this week is this: To what extent are we committed to love above all things? How can we embrace the call to love in a stronger way?

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