Jesus said to the disciples, ‘When I sent you out without a purse, bag, or sandals, did you lack anything?’ They said, ‘No, not a thing.’ He said to them, ‘But now, the one who has a purse must take it, and likewise a bag. And the one who has no sword must sell his cloak and buy one. For I tell you, this scripture must be fulfilled in me, “And he was counted among the lawless”; and indeed what is written about me is being fulfilled.’ They said, ‘Lord, look, here are two swords.’ He replied, ‘It is enough.’ He came out and went, as was his custom, to the Mount of Olives; and the disciples followed him. (Luke 22.35-39)
In the musical ‘Joseph and his Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat’ there is a song in which the brothers remember the good days of old.
Do you remember the good years in Canaan?
The summers were endlessly gold
The fields were a patchwork of clover
The winters were never too cold
We’d stroll down the boulevards together
And everything round us was fine
Now the fields are dead and bare
No joie de vivre anywhere
Et maintenant we drink a bitter wine
Those Canaan days we used to know
Where have they gone, where did they go?
Eh bien, raise your berets
To those Canaan days.
It’s an amusing song, sung in ‘Allo, allo’ French accents. These verses from Luke remind me of this though. Jesus is saying to the disciples – ‘You remember when it was easy, when we wanted for nothing, those days are over; wake up to reality’. The talk of swords is ironic, of course, but irony is always lost on the disciples – hence the ‘It is enough’ not that two swords is enough but that Jesus can’t stand any more of their dullness and so he goes and they follow, into another world of the hunter and the hunted.
We can bask in days of ease and former glory or ‘wake up and smell the coffee’. Jesus calls us to live in the world as it is, not in the world we imagine it is and to change the world into what he desires it to be, where none are in want and the poor are rich and the rich are generous.
Open my eyes, Lord,
to the world around;
open my heart, Lord,
as you love us.