Advent Firesiders

Luke iii (2010)

As Henry Wansbrough points out, you never know what Luke's characters are going to do next, except that they will almost invariably do the right things for the wrong reasons: the crafty steward drops his rate of interest to keep his job; the judge settles the widow's case because she's threatened to slap him; and you get the impression that Zacchaeus promises restitution to impress Jesus for, after all, although he is more generous than the Law requires, he still leaves himself plenty in the bank. Which brings me back to the non existent grumpy inn-keeper of our Lucan tradition. What did he have to be grumpy about? The in was packed to the rafters with every bed taken and the kitchen staff run off their feet; what else could he have wanted? But, in the Lucan tradition, you can’t ever be perfectly happy nor perfectly wicked. You're somewhere between the two.

There are two things I like about Luke above all others: first, his characters frequently thank Jesus for his miracles. I mean, imagine you've just been cured of leprosy or got your sight back and you just walk away without acknowledging the healer; it doesn't seem real, does it?

The second thing I like is that people repent after they've met Jesus not as a necessary precondition for meeting him. It is when people get to know him that they see the error of their ways. Now that’s what I call genuine discipleship.