In this section you can find a daily commentary on the Gospel of the Day.

Wednesday 1 February 2023

Fourth Week in Ordinary Time

Word for today
The Gospel of Mark 6:1-6

Free the Liberator

The Word of Jesus undoubtedly makes us aware of the profound reality of the light that shines within us.
It is a luminous reality that can be sensed by us all, whether or not we are followers of Jesus. His luminous reality was felt by His fellow townsman who mocked Him, by Jude who betrayed Him, by Pilate who condemned Him, by the priests of the temple who killed Him. Even His apostles sensed that same luminous reality and on Pentecost they overcame their fear and with difficulty became bright, happy witnesses of His light.
Jesus awakens our desire to free ourselves from fear, endless lies, deceptive systems and to uncover the truth of our being before God the Father and humanity.
His Word leads us to listen to our hearts, to our inner intentions, to our inner desires and to our decision making. Jesus asks us to be truthful with ourselves so we will be able to be truthful with others and with life.
This is inconvenient, creates a crisis, and even worse it scares us, it scares us to death.
And they took offense at Him. They were scandalized by Him. Jesus frightens us. We recognize His liberating beauty; nonetheless we do not want to have anything to do with Him.
It is both strange and terrible. It is as if we are afraid of letting “Jesus, the liberator” free in our hearts, so we keep Him tied up. We want Him to be present in us, but at the same time we keep Him crucified, nailed, stuck. We are afraid to let him free, free to run in our spirit, to play with our certainties and to disrupt them, and to knock down our mental barriers and our ridiculous inner resistance.  We are ultimately scared to let Him do what He wants to in our souls and our minds.
Jesus wants us to be happy, full of His joy, a joy so full and lasting that our decision to not trust Him and to remain miserable and misled is almost incredible to him.
He was amazed at their lack of faith. Jesus is surprised by the fact that we keep the doors of our heart closed to Him, but not to impostors and fake healers.
We sometimes think we are letting Him into our heart, but it is only his “portrayal,” His name, His tradition; it is not His true Word and presence, only an image: the image that we have built of Him in our minds on the basis of what others have told us.
Jesus wants to free us from this  "falsification" process which has made it possible to teach human precepts as if they were precepts of God: “You have a fine way of setting aside the commands of God in order to observe your own traditions! [..] Thus you nullify the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And you do many things like that.” (Mark 7:9.13).
The process of "falsification" is able to distance God's real substance and presence from people's hearts while maintaining in a subtle and clever way in their souls and consciences all the parameters of religious sacredness, fear, ritual and morality[1].
The prophets sent by God to His people throughout history were given the task of liberating people from this  “falsification” process which, without apparently alienating them from God, cunningly falsified the sacred law which had slowly turned the people away from God and His holy law. The real prophets were always killed by the powerful who instigated the people to recognize the prophet as an enemy of God and His law.
This is what has always happened. Jesus was killed in the name of God, not of Satan. The Son of God was murdered, in the name of the Law of Moses, to defend orthodoxy, dogma, tradition and the law of the fathers, a divine law that the leaders of the Jewish people[2] had learned to cleverly tamper with to cunningly defend their interests and to cloak their wrongdoings with sacred law[3].
Likewise even today, in the name of Jesus and of the thoughts ideas about Him that we have pasted on ourselves, we can reject Jesus himself.
We are scandalized by him. We affirm that He is too perfect, too strong, too revolutionary, too disruptive, and too new. With these and other excuses, we lose our life, the only life we ​​have. But why are we doing this? What are we protecting? What treasure are we trying to preserve if not our own fear?
This is Satan's greatest victory; pushing us to lock Jesus, the Liberator, in the prison which He wants to free us from, condemning us to slavery (fear) in the name of Jesus. We are terribly afraid to admit that everything in us that is not fundamentally authentic will sooner or later collapse and be swept away.
Good will, principles, and values will not suffice to keep us from being swept away.  Being good men and women who wish others well but who do not want to be too disturbed in their habits will not suffice. Jesus asks us to dare. Jesus asks us to go deeper and to discover with open minds who we really are.
This requires faith, faith to risk, out of love our whole lives standing before God the Father. It means choosing Jesus as our only divine Savior and the Holy Spirit as our only Divine Comforter.
[1] In Mark 7:9-13 Jesus accurately describes the process of "falsification" of the Word and the Law of God by some religious groups who defended their power and cleverly covered their injustices by distorting the word of God and teaching, with divine authority,  traditions, customs and precepts.
[2] The "leaders of the people" or "heads of the people" is the expression used by John the Evangelist when he wanted to distinguish the powerful (the elderly, priests, scribes and Pharisees) from the common people.
[3] In the Bible, the violent behavior of the leaders of the people against God's true prophets was often repeated  and described as their "traditional" attitude. In Matthew 23:27-32 Jesus, who will suffer the same fate, recalls how in the past, after killing God's prophets, the leaders of the Jewish people built them wonderful graves in the attempt to hide with gestures of honor and reverence their violent opposition to the "prophetic voices" coming from God to free them from decay and hypocrisy.