The Blood of Prophets

Luke 11:47-54
Rom 3:21-39 / Psa 130

You have taken away the key to knowledge.
(Luke 11:52)

The blood of prophets persecuted
Cry out for every sin committed;
Woe to sinners who take for granted
The precious blood that Jesus shed.

“Woe to you! You build the tombs of the prophets, whom your ancestors killed. So you testify that you approve of what your ancestors did; they killed the prophets, and you build their tombs. Because of this, God in his wisdom said, ‘I will send them prophets and apostles, some of whom they will kill and others they will persecute.’ Therefore this generation will be held responsible for the blood of all the prophets that has been shed since the beginning of the world, from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah, who was killed between the altar and the sanctuary. Yes, I tell you, this generation will be held responsible for it all. “Woe to you experts in the law. You have taken away the key to knowledge. You yourselves have not entered, and you have hindered those who were entering.” When Jesus left there, the Pharisees and the teachers of the law began to oppose Him fiercely and to besiege Him with questions, waiting to catch Him in something He might say. (Luke 11:47-54)

Reflection

What did our Lord mean by “the key to knowledge?” The scribes were the keepers of the prophecies found in the Old Testament writings which testified to Jesus as the promised Savior, so Jesus was referring to Himself as the Key to mankind’s redemption. Only through Him could mankind enter the kingdom of God. He had the authority from God Himself. In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus passed on this authority to St. Peter, the first head of the Church when He told him, “I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven” (Mt.16:19). St. Paul also cited in today’s first reading that the righteousness of God (Jesus) has been manifested apart from the law, though testified to by the law and the prophets, the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe” (Rom.3:21-22).

Jesus Himself gave a prophecy that the blood of prophets would continue to be shed when He said: “Therefore, the wisdom of God said, ‘I will send to them prophets and apostles; some of them they will kill and persecute’ in order that this generation might be charged with the blood of all the prophets shed…” (Lk.11:49-50). He was including Himself in the coming martyrdom (in fact He would lead it) which would befall so many of His disciples and the saints of the early Church.

Jesus also said, “This generation will be held responsible for it all. Woe to you experts in the law.” If the scribes and Pharisees were responsible for the blood of the prophets and martyrs, then those legislators in the present generation who passed laws legalizing abortion in their countries will be held responsible for the hundreds of thousands of innocent lives extinguished for the sake of “convenience” and women’s rights. They hindered God’s children from entering this earthly life; so how can they expect to enter eternal life in the kingdom of God when the Day of Judgment comes?

Heavenly Father, our Savior Jesus rightly said that those who hold the key to life and withhold it from others will be held responsible for their negligence or evil designs. Spare us, Your children, Lord, from the consequences of their sin, manifested in the natural disasters, economic hardships and political strifes happening in our world today. Protect us from all the intrigues perpetrated by the evil one. Amen.

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