Paul’s letter to the Romans includes powerful words of encouragement, seemingly spoken to people in the midst of a struggle that may not be going so well. When you are being “slain all the day” and “looked upon as sheep to be slaughtered”, neither the present nor the immediate future looks very promising. The love of our God may indeed seem far from us as we look for signs of his favor in the midst of that struggle. But maybe that is because we are looking for the wrong signs or refuse to accept the signs before us.
The gospel reading ends with Jesus using a metaphor of a hen seeking to gather an unwilling brood. Chicks instinctively know to retreat to the warmth and safety of their mother. I have never observed an unwilling chick, and if one did exist, it would not last long — which makes this metaphor all the more powerful. Jesus is lamenting the stubborn refusal to see signs so obvious they could not be missed.
(Adapted from Edward Morse)