Whose Kingdom Do You Prefer?
On this Second Sunday after Christmas, there are three options for Gospel reading in the Revised Common Lectionary. At King of Peace, the first of these alternatives will be our Gospel reading for tomorrow. That reading skips a few painful verses and tomorrow we will read those as well, so that the innocent babies of Bethlehem are not forgotten as we recount the story of Mary and Joseph's flight into Egypt to save Jesus from the jealous King Herod.
Katerina Whitley has preached on this Gospel reading saying in part,
Look at the history of the Herods and compare them to the stories of Jesus – the child born to a poor young mother who said yes to God; the child protected by a good man named Joseph who obeyed the words of the messengers of God. Who made a difference in subsequent history and in the hearts of human beings? Who is remembered with love and devotion? Who is worshiped and obeyed? And whose life and death changed the world? Think about Herod and then think about Jesus of Nazareth. Whose kingdom do you prefer?
One bribes the Romans with money taken from the taxes of the poor people of Judea in order to curry favor with the conquerors and hold on to his throne. The other urges his followers to give what they have to the poor while he himself lives as one who has nowhere to lay his head.
Herod uses violence that brings forth more violence; Jesus resists violence by offering peace and forgiveness.
Herod builds palaces and temples to his own glory while Jesus builds the kingdom of God by turning the values of power and wealth upside down.
One lives by injustice, the other by justice.
Herod orders death while Jesus offers life.
Who is the one we long to emulate?
Labels: Gospel reading