The movie, Forrest Gump has a great scene at the end of its “Long Run Scene.” Forrest has run for three years, two months, fourteen days, and sixteen hours. At the end of his life, according to Luke, Jesus has lived approximately 30 years, and if we follow John’s Gospel, he has preached 3 years, about two months, fourteen days, and sixteen hours. For the Thursday for the Thirtieth Week in Ordinary Time, Jesus mentions this in terms of days.
At the end of Forrest Gump’s running of the good race 2 Timothy 4:7, he turns and a man takes the role of St. Peter, “Quiet! Quiet! He is going to say something.” They expect something for the ages. Forrest says, “I think I want to go home now.” In Matthew 17:22, at the end of his life, Jesus tells his apostles, “”The Son of Man is going to be betrayed into the hands of men. They will kill him, and after three days he will rise.” His grand words are, he is going home, “Are you ready, Peter, to take over.”
The Forrest Gump movie adds the Arizona desert. Going to Jerusalem and almost certain death must have much like this for Jesus and his followers. At the end of our Gospel we read: “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how many times I yearned to gather your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, but you were unwilling! Behold, your house will be abandoned. You will not see me until the time comes when you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the NAME.”
“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the NAME.” alludes to the end of Psalm 118, which is the last Psalm of the Hallel, the Great Psalm recited at Passover. This Psalm gives us great advice for this coming election year, ““Better to take refuge in the NAME than to put one’s trust in mortals. Better to take refuge in the NAME than to put one’s trust in princes.” Psalm 146:3-4 continues this theme, “Put no trust in princes, in children of Adam powerless to save. Who breathing his last, returns to the earth; that day all his planning comes to nothing.” Psalm 33:16-17 adds, “A king is not saved by a great army, nor a warrior delivered by great strength. Useless is the horse for safety; despite its great strength, it cannot be saved.”
Our Gospel begins, “Go away, and leave this area because Herod wants to kill you.” The implication is that Jesus can save himself by trusting in the princes of another district. Jesus refers to Psalm 118. Trust in God first. “The NAME is with me; I am not afraid; what can mortals do against me?” Our first reading includes, “I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor present things, nor future things, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Kyrie”
The emphasis is trusting in God, not princes, again. The rabbinic leadership mistake of the first century, and of us, is wanting to trust leaders to give us grand words to give us grand direction. Jesus points to trusting in God first. There are no grand words, just, “I think I want to go home now.” Trust in God first. Then stand to fight the forces of violence in our world. Our Forrest Gump scene gives one other piece of advice, we will be running Against the Wind.