Imagine your work place. At some point a new colleague arrives, one who seems to be very smart, speaks three languages, always with a brilliant idea and the right solution handy. He never complains of too much work or of the neurosis of the boss. He does everything with love, in perfect order, with great respect. He never fails and especially when he speaks….he makes everyone else look bad!
Wow, what a nuisance, who is this fellow? What is he looking for? It would be better if he wouldn’t be there. Let’s get rid of him!
Yes, I am talking about all of us, the modern Pharisees, and a possible scenario of our times.
Man’s attitude is the same, from time immemorial. None of us likes someone who makes you notice the wrong in the way you live, someone who wants to subvert the little corners that you have built, your certainties, your limited ideas of wellness and power in which you take refuge each time to find consolation.
Jesus came into the world performing prodigious acts, making signs, bringing the light through the Word of God. When he started his public mission, he told us that he was the Way, the Truth and the Life. He became very upset in front of the temple, prophesying that he would have rebuilt it in three days if we would have destroyed it. He even dared to call the wise men “whitened sepulchers” and arrived to proclaim himself the Son of God!
What a nuisance for the doctors of law of that time.
What did we do to him? We decided to get rid of him; rather, we deliberately decided to put Him to death.
The Pharisees and the people of that time did it, calling an extraordinary council at the Sanhedrim. Countless persecutors and many thinkers and philosophers have tried to do it during the centuries like the German philosopher Frederick Nietzsche (just to give one name), who proclaimed
the death of God in one of his most famous quotes.
We continue to do it nowadays, with the religious wars, the threats of the terrorists, or even just through little things in our specific lives, when rather than doing for others or using our many talents, we prefer to take refuge in our little corners and stay “safe”. Yes, better to conform to the many, so as to not be excluded and risk a major shock, or to subvert our wealthy and comfortable life.
Sometimes it is hard to go against the tide, to proclaim with conviction to believe in God and to show Christian values without risking being labelled as fanatic or obsessed. This happens even among members of the same family sometimes! And when it happens (I can confirm this!), it is painful.
But Jesus in His mission came also – and especially – to rescue the bound ones, to heal the sick people who strongly wanted to be healed, but also those ones who were content to stay for 38 years on their dirty-but-comfortable mat, in their niches.
God is love and compassion. God is mercy. Jesus cried in front of the death of His friend Lazarus, because God is like this. He suffers at the thought of losing one of us, and like any good shepherd, leaves the 99 sheep to look for each of us, when we get lost.
This Gospel goes straight to my heart in this week of Lent and urges me to reflect on my real conviction to follow Him and teach this to my children with no fear, rather than to conform to lukewarm thoughts and not to lose my comfortable “status”. I didn’t know exactly what to write in this reflection, but now that I arrived at this line, I feel that the Holy Spirit is encouraging me more and more to reflect the light of God and go out of myself and take some risks, to testify that in the labyrinth of life, many ways are possible but only one is the right one!
Maria Soggiu lives in Rome with her family. When possible, she likes traveling and learning about other places, cultures and traditions and finding the signs of God in other places’ cultures and traditions. The mythological maze in this picture lays on a column of a Cathedral in one of the most beautiful medieval towns of Italy, recently visited.