Pretty much since my first Confession, my first Holy Communion, my Confirmation, I’ve been baiting the authorities that be about all that which is good and holy, not because I’m good and holy, but precisely because I’m not and I wanted, in all my cynicism, to see if anyone would stand up for that which was and He who is truly Good and Holy. Some disappointments were to be had as we are all so very week. But as I was ordained to the diaconate and to the priesthood my baiting intensified as a teaching tool, that by which the uninstructable might me shaken up enough that they might at least question the heretical positions that had taken up to rationalize whatever horror was purposely going on their lives.
It got to the point very quickly as a priest – under the thumb of whatever more seasoned pastor – that I had to be reprimanded as being too brash, too challenging, to much respecting of the moral capacity that we all have especially if we but assent to the grace of God.
- “People are just too weak. Let them do whatever the hell they want to do, because we don’t want to offend them as they give us money.”
Walking into the door of the rectory of a parish in my first summer as a deacon, I was told what’s in the quote above, except replace money with new cars once a year. Seriously, before I was even greeted. I just continued my usual explication of the Living Truth of the Son of the Living God with all humor and charity and mercy, but the Living Truth was not watered down one bit.
Thus we come down to today, to my take on the Gospel of Jesus baiting people in His own hometown synagogue of Nazareth. Hah! Have I gone off the deep end in seeing Jesus’ actions as a vindication of a lifetime?
At the same time, know this, that people will forgive my own terrible idiocies if they see I’m actually trying to say something in sincerity about Jesus however much I otherwise get in the way, however much because of my own inadequacies I would otherwise obscure the Living Truth of Jesus. At least that. Jesus makes it happen for the good of His little flock.
But I still feel vindicated in not being “a man of consensus.” That title was put to us as the ultimate goal for which to strive, but this did not mean unity of judgement in the unmanipulatable Living Truth who Jesus is. Rather, being “a man of consensus” was all about being soft and nothing, able to compromise with the world’s sin, with the world’s darkness, with the world’s lies and aggression. Just no. That’s not what we are called to do. We are called to be one with the Son of the Living God, Mary’s dearest Son.