Kept from the best

In today’s gospel we listen into the ongoing conversation of Jesus with the Pharisees. In yesterday’s reflection I asked, “what will you see?” Today we see part of the answer on the part of Pharisees. And buried in that reply is one small phrase that points to the fact that they heard and inferred clearly what Jesus was claiming: that he was God. They rejected that saying, “We have one Father, God.

It is often said that “the good” becomes the enemy when it keeps you from “the best.”

The idea that there is one God and one alone is good. When it is held on so tightly that it keeps you from the fuller revelation of God as Holy Trinity, then, in its own way, it keeps you from the best.

One wonders how serious the Pharisees were when brought up the talk that Jesus was “born of fornication.”  Was it just a taunt? An insult? A way to dismiss Jesus so that they would not have to deal with his teaching, the miracles, his power over demons and nature – and all the rest that screamed the kingdom of God is arriving and is now among them?

Jesus’ response: “If God were your Father, you would love me” is as though Jesus were saying, “Love should be your response to my words, my works, the miracles, and the whole message I bring. Love should always be your response.”

Love would be the agent that carries you from the “good” to the “best.” The Pharisee threw out an insult to dismiss Jesus so they would not have to deal with him – would not have to act in love.

Maybe the words we use are our ways of not having to deal with another, not having to act in love. Today’s gospel asks many things of us. In part it asks us to make sure our ways, words, and worries are not held so tightly that they keep us from the best.

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