Friday, March 16, 2007

Friday word, 16 Mar 2007

3 Lenten Friday (16 Mar 2007) Hos 14. 2-10; Ps 81; Mt 12. 28-34
Homily of Fr. Paul Panaretos, S.J.

The religious professionals as a class opposed Jesus at almost every turn during his ministry. Suspicion about yet another Messiah generated their caution turned opposition turned looking for opportunities to kill Jesus. Among the religious professionals unity was not guaranteed. Perhaps the most famous religious professional who became a disciple of Jesus was Nicodemus, who came to Jesus by night, as the Fourth Gospel recalled--for some reason he wanted anonymity.

Today’s gospel mentions an unnamed scribe who questioned Jesus about the commandments. All the ordinances of God made the professional landscape scribes surveyed carefully. This scribe seemed to have a genuine thirst for knowledge unlike the Pharisees, who at the beginning of this chapter wanted to lay hold of Jesus; unlike other Pharisees with sympathizers of King Herod sought to catch Jesus in his words, and similarly some Sadducees.

This scribe did not have an attack-Jesus agenda. Plus, Jesus’ reasoning that loving God and loving humans are on a par with each other won over the scribe. Perhaps this scribe did not fight his heart as it turned to God. Jesus’ voice was [God’s] voice for him. This scribe was not fighting return[ing] to the Lord [his] God as Hosea had announced.

Are you fighting your Lent? Or are you allowing your Lenten observances to welcome your deepest self to return again to God to heal you and love [you] freely?

This scribe Mark’s gospel left unnamed. Without a name in scripture doesn’t merely mean anonymous. The significance of no name creates the possibility that this scribe stands for each of us who return to Jesus wholeheartedly. Indeed, whoever turns to Jesus is never far from the Kingdom of God.
Flickr photo by Ctd 2005 used under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 license.

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