Passage for Reflection: Matthew 21:12-22:46
Father in heaven,
When you sent your Son, Jesus, the living Word made flesh, you made possible what had always been impossible: you allowed us to see You. Even Moses, the great Prophet, was warned that man should not see You and live. How was it that You deigned to visit our humble planet and wear the frail threads of humanity? How was it that You decided to tear the curtain of Divine obscurity and give us a glimpse of the Holy? It must be that Your love is more steadfast that we could imagine, Your grace more persistent that we could conceive.
And yet, because of our unbelieving eyes, we do not always see. Often, we are indignant by the God-Man revealed, as were the religious leaders of Jesus’ day. Their questions – and ours – are many.
Do you hear the Hosanna chorus of the children?
By what authority are you doing these things?
Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar or not?
In the resurrection, of the seven, whose wife will she be?
Which is the greatest commandment of the Law?
So often, we cannot be moved beyond our own religious misconceptions to embrace the Jesus who heals, and the Jesus who permits the prostitute’s touch; Jesus the guest of the tax collector and Jesus the Sabbath-breaker; the Jesus of the feast and the Jesus of the Cross. Our questions are often thinly-veiled accusations: we wonder how the Jesus sent could stand so far outside the bounds of the Jesus we expected. Our questions reveal the ways we feel threatened. We do not like to cede power. And ultimately, we do not want to praise. We fail to believe the simple terms by which You’ve described kingdom living: Love God? Love our neighbor? Surely our fastidious rule-keeping is a better way.
Good Friday will show us that the kingdom is simple, yes, but never easy. There is a high price to love and sacrifice is required in its every genuine expression. Good Friday will reveal how ultimately incapable we are of the kind of love You require. Good Friday will secure a forgiveness we have not deserved, a transformation we could not have manufactured.
Make us, this week, a people who see. And having received our sight, make us a people who love.