Our Gospel reading begins in a kind of spooky way today. Jesus is surrounded by hostility and plotting with people lying in wait to trap him, to spy on him. I think everyone has had times in their lives when they have felt like they were under-siege, watched, someone waiting to trip you up. This is not a pleasant feeling when it is happening. Perhaps it has happened at work, or in a social setting among people thought to be friends, or perhaps in a church setting. I think our instinct is to hunker down and to become defensive when these under-siege moments happen, when we are surrounded by hostility.
Jesus shows us a way around that hunkering down method. He assures us that even though we may be surrounded by nasties on all sides, we are surrounded, closer in, by something else. We are surrounded by God's love for us, for the Son of Man's love for us, by the Holy Spirit's presence right here with us. Jesus tells us today that we need not fear or be defensive in those kind of situations where we feel overwhelmed, for the Holy Spirit will teach us, at that very moment, what we should say, how we should act, how we should respond. That presence, that love can sustain us through the absolute worst of times and situations.
This can be easy to forget, to ignore, but we shouldn't ever forget or ignore this surrounding presence and this surrounding love. They provide us with an armor that can sustain the worst of assaults. Will we still feel put-upon, put-out? Probably, yes. Will that be easier to put up with? Perhaps even ignore? Absolutely.
Copyright 2008, John F. Dwyer. All Rights Reserved.