No Easy Answer, Only Invitation

How keenly Jesus is attuned to his audience. He doesn’t send them scurrying to committee reports, library stacks or obscure passages in Leviticus. He doesn’t try to impress; he simply targets the common denominator. What doofus gathers grapes from brambles or builds a house without a foundation? Duh.

Then into the same salad he tosses good and evil, the oil and vinegar of their lived experience. To follow his cue, we could sit for a moment with the good fruit. The bus drivers, health care workers, janitors, teachers, many who leave warm beds on dark, frigid mornings. The volunteers from around the world who rescued a soccer team from a flooding cave in Thailand. The school lunch personnel who got food to hungry kids even during lockdown. The small boy who gives his granny her morning kiss despite her scary facial scars.

But even the bad belongs. Jesus is no Pollyanna; he knew brutal Roman oppression in his day. And in ours, he sees big business raking in obscene profits from opioid addiction. Or the rampant racism that murders unarmed people of color. The examples deliberately show the worst extremes, an oversimplification Jesus avoids. He doesn’t insult with glib explanations of evil; he feels the hammer vibrations in his own palms.

He offers his audience a larger capacity to be with everything, to enter Mystery. In that sacred place with firm foundation, no one resolves anything. But we know the Presence stands with us, sure as the probing voice resonating throughout the Galilean hills and beyond.

Kathy Coffey, “No Easy Answer, Only Invitation,” from the September 2022 issue of Give Us This Day (Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 2022). Used with permission.

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