Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The purpose-driven Jesus

There's something rather comical in today's readings. The first reading (Hebrews) presents Jesus as our "merciful and faithful high priest", and while the Gospel certainly matches that (we see Jesus mercifully healing Peter's mother-in-law, and then all the sick people who crowded at the door of the house), we also see that the newly-minted disciples don't get it  yet. If Jesus is a merciful and faithful high priest, there will be more to his ministry than miracles: a priest is an intercessor, too. They should have known that Jesus the priest would be a man of intense prayer.
Perhaps they suspected as much. After all, they did "track him down" (the same verb you would use of a bloodhound) in thatprivate spot he had gone to before sunrise. Of course he was praying. But there was work to be done! Miracles to be worked! Acclaim to be fostered and basked in! So they barged right in, as it were, into the Holy of Holies.
The merciful and faithful high priest may have sighed a bit to himself, but it wasn't the time for reprimands. Instead, he gets up--but where the disciples take the direct road back to Capernaum, Jesus turns off toward "the other towns and villages" to preach there. This, he tells them, is what he came to do.
That essential truth about Jesus: that he was "sent" to reveal the mind, the heart, the reality of God. God did not leave us on our own to figure out a "spiritual path"; Jesus, God incarnate, is the spiritual path. I suppose if we took that seriously enough, the new evangelization would have already set the world on fire.

1 comment:

Rae said...

For some reason, my nose started to prickle with tears when I read your last sentence. Busted. We're all busted!