“So they picked up stones to throw at him;
but Jesus hid and went out of the temple area.” -John 8:59
Is it any wonder that Jesus’ contemporaries want to stone him? He told the rich young man that he had to sell all he had, give it to the poor and come follow him (Right!); He expelled the merchants from the temple (how did he expect them to manage?); He told prostitutes and tax collectors that God loves them (ok, then I am worthy despite my past mistakes). Unless I’m completely out of it, I hear Jesus telling me I must be willing to put sharing and caring above money making, and that no matter how shameful or sinful I am or feel, my creator God, loves me and wants to dance with me. (YIKES!)
Today, two thousand years later, we who claim to follow this Jesus, people who call ourselves Christians are: “…many of the world’s wealthiest and highest consuming citizens…” (Simplelivinghistorybook) To my problematic mind, that would mean either we, I count myself among the world’s wealthiest and highest consuming, didn’t understand what Jesus was all about, or we have chosen to ignore these more challenging aspects of His life and message.
Jesus, please don’t hide from me, from us, today. Let me see and hear your message and not run from it. Give me the courage to follow you, to be willing to leave it all and follow you, to take up my cross, not my brother or sister’s cross, but my cross, and carry it, being willing like You, to give my all, in the firm belief that I will share in the new life You promise.
Dan O’Donnell is a Passionist Partner and a longtime friend of the Passionists. He lives in Chicago.