Saturday, July 21, 2012

There's something about today's Gospel that is particularly timely as we shake our heads over another unpredictable mass murder.  During the week, we heard Jesus praise the Father for revealing heaven's mysteries to the nobodies of the world; he claimed that "no one knows the Son but the Father"; that he, the Son, is "meek and humble of heart" and at the same time "Lord of the Sabbath." And because of that, certain religious elites are conspiring to put him to death.

And so he withdraws.

Jesus was not spoiling for a fight; he was not eager for a showdown.

That's mighty hard. (He really is meek and humble of heart!)

When I read the Gospel today, I had to give extra space to that description of the "Suffering Servant" from Isaiah (quoted by Matthew): Here is God, introducing his Son (whom "no one but the Father knows"). Atrocities like the theater shooting can make all of us want to pull out whatever weapons we have, even though most of us are not facing a crazed killer at the moment. (If you are, for heaven's sake, stop reading this blog and run for cover! And take your cell phone with you!) But we can have our own low-grade enemies, and the headlines may stir up those antipathies.

Maybe occasions like this provide us with an invitation to be reconciled in some way; to "withdraw" from our contribution of hostility or resentment; to "withdraw" the weapons we tend to rely on; to neither "contend or cry out," but to place the situation and the relationship back in God's hands, so that Isaiah's words can be applied just as much to us: "Behold, my servant whom I have chosen; my beloved in whom I delight."

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