In today’s Gospel, Jesus cites four “witnesses” to prove that he is who he says he is: John the Baptist, the work he does, the voice from heaven, and the Scriptures themselves. However the Jewish authorities refuse to place their faith in Jesus simply because he is not the kind of Messiah they were expecting. So they fall into the same trap that their ancestors succumbed to during their sojourn in the desert. They had visions of grandeur in their minds when they left Egypt. However, the desert proved to be a very different kind of trysting place for God and the children of Israel. So instead of worshipping God, they chose to worship and idol.
We need to ask ourselves whether their inability to accept Jesus is not being repeated in our own lives. Have we fashioned a new god simply because Jesus is not what we expected. Do we accept the notion that we are to forgive one another not once, nor twice, but seven times seven times? Do we embrace the notion that all men and women are our brothers and sisters? Do we agree that we are to love our enemies? Does Jesus’ command to love one another as he has loved us make us squirm a little when we realize what it will mean behaviorally?
Jesus didn’t come to his own people as they expected. Jesus doesn’t come to us as we might have expected. However, our faith teaches us that we are to let go of our own preconceived notions in favor of God’s idea.
The Eucharist is God’s pledge that God will remain with us no matter what? Are we capable of accepting such unconditional love? Or would it perhaps be easier for us to follow a far more conventional approach to the world and those who live in it.
Fr. Lawrence Jagdfeld, O.F.M., Administrator