Thursday, March 26, 2009

Another moment of choice: 4WL

Today's Readings

Much food for thought and prayer if you slowly and carefully read and re-read today's gospel. Jesus, it seems, has had enough of the opposition to his good words from some Jewish people. In particular his good name was attacked for telling the cured paralytic man to get up, pick up his mat and go on his way. That simple suggestion contradicted one of the 39 laws regulating Sabbath work! Imagine what that law would create in our culture!!!

What seems evident after musing over the various "witnesses" Jesus calls to his defense -- John the Baptist, Jesus' miracles, the words of his Father, and the Old Testament writings -- is that this particular group of Jewish people had become victims to allowing their egos to dictate how they acted. In particular, it would seem, this group was caught by one of the ways ego takes away genuine freedom: "I am what others think of me." The opposition to Jesus' "authority" by these folks reflects an inner emotion gone awry. Their reputation is at stake. What would others think of them if they did not challenge Jesus' directions to the cured paralytic? Why wouldn't a cured man not pick up his mat and head for home, jubilant that now he could walk?

What does this part of John's gospel speak to us? Are there moments in my life when what others think of me becomes the determining factor in what I say or do? Speaking out against abortion? Speaking out for those condemned to die? Speaking out for the destitute who need support? Speaking out for those who just do not fit into the box that most would have for them?

Remember these severe but sad words Jesus spoke to the opposition: "But you do not want to come to me to have life." Spare me from ever allowing Jesus to say those words to me!