Wednesday, October 03, 2012

When the Gospel seems a bit...much

More ironic Catholicism at
This bit of irony came to mind today when I was reflecting on the Gospel. It's one of those "Jesus didn't really say that, did he?" passages: " Let the dead bury their dead. You go and proclaim the Kingdom of God!" Isn't Jesus supposed to be unfailingly tender and compassionate? Why does he sound so harsh, so cold?

Well, we can't get away from it. It's right in the Gospel of Luke. Right in the middle of a set of three would-be disciples of Jesus. One volunteered to follow Jesus, but Jesus didn't take him up on it. "The Son of Man has no place to rest his head," he observed. A life like that can grow old fast. But then there was the second person. Jesus called him: "Follow me." This one did not "get up at once, leave all things and follow Jesus." He asked for a bit of time, to go and bury his father. (No indication that the father was, in fact, dead at the time.) That's why Jesus responded as He did. It is as if He were saying, "Let go! There is a new creation breaking in on the whole world! The old things don't matter anymore! Get a move on!"

St Paul did a whole theology in this vein: the same stark language about death--only this time, applied to, of all things, the Mosaic Covenant. Compared with the New Testament in Christ's blood, the former Covenant and all its glory was just "carved in letters on stone," "a ministry of death," a "tutor until Christ came" bringing surpassing (and unending) glory (see 2 Cor 3 and Gal 3).

Now, Paul says, we see dimly "as in a mirror." When the face-to-face vision is offered us, it's time to let go of the fond images of the past, and go forward to where all is new.

1 comment:

O Sol said...

THANK YOU Sister. What bible translation do you use