9 February 2018
Sometimes I just can’t understand the Lord, and I don’t think I’m alone in this. He seems to believe that He knows better than the rest of us and I don’t know about you, but I for one get annoyed about it. If by His grace I am brought to Heaven, I will have a long list of ‘Please explains.’ I won’t be the only one. There will be such a queue of us wanting explanations that we will be lined up for eternity.
Today and yesterday’s readings are definitely in my ‘What was with that’ dossier. Jesus came to rescue the lost children of Israel. Given His mission, why yesterday was He in Phoenicia, North West of Israel? And the Gospel tells us that He was trying to travel incognito. To be honest, Our Lord wasn’t great at inconspicuous. How was a Jewish leader and followers going to be under the radar in pagan Phoenicia?
Yesterday North West, today the Decapolis, another pagan territory this one South East of (mostly) Jewish Galilee. His itinerary makes no sense.
Jesus worked a lot of miracles in public, so why on this occasion take the deaf and dumb man aside? Privacy wasn’t a thing in a world where the whole family lived in one room. And, if that was so, why, on other occasions, did he intentionally expose people wanting His help. Zacchaeus? The woman with the flow of blood? Then He heals the man in a frankly icky way. On practically every other occasion, He merely prayed or touched the suppliant. Next question: The man had been deaf and had a speech impediment, and Jesus orders him and his mates not to tell anyone? That’s going to happen.
But all these behaviours are trivial compared to His Big Idea. He is going to go to Jerusalem and in the process antagonise everybody who’s anybody when all he needs to do is listen to His Public Relations department, and He will be Emperor in no time. They did try to warn Him. His response – “Get behind me Satan, your ways are not God’s ways.”
Our culture is increasingly of the view that Jesus doesn’t know what He is talking about and the Church instead better get with ‘community values.’ The question for us is this: Are we prepared to go along the narrow path to Jerusalem with Him, or would we prefer the easy road instead? Who knows best; Jesus or us?