|Out of Focus, #4, 2013, jfd+|
Where is our heart when we are responding to a question? This seems to be the central focus of Jesus' interaction with the chief priests and the elders of the temple in our Gospel selection from Matthew. They ask him, basically, who the hell he thinks he is doing the things and saying the things that he does...and he responds with a question about John the Baptist's authority.
Jesus is pushing them to really evaluate what is going on right in front of them...And their motives are clear to him that they want the status quo and refuse to give a direct and honest answer by saying, "We do not know" when in fact they do. His retort to their lie is a question in the form of the story of the two sons: one saying Nope go pound sand old man, I won't do the work in the vineyard, and then the son changes his mind and goes and does as his father asks; and the other says, Sure Pop, glad to, and when his father goes away he doesn't do as he said he would. The chief priests and the elders answer Jesus' question about this story correctly, and then Jesus points out that they are the latter child, not the former, because of their refusal to accept what is right in front of them: him.
We are challenged by this Gospel reading:
- to put away the selfishness of preservation of the status quo;
- to be honest and forthright about our intentions; and
- to live the kingdom-life - doing the work to which Jesus' life, teachings, and ministry instruct us to aspire.
Copyright 2013, The Rev. John F. Dwyer. All Rights Reserved to images and words.