… for I am a jealous God

(Exodus 20.5)

The Master was well known for his atypical sayings.
Once he declared blessed anyone who does not find him a cause of falling!
He was right, of course.
He managed to baffle and upset a good number of his contemporaries.

He confounded his fellow citizens
because he claimed to be the Son of Man who came from above.
He confounded the Pharisees so much, that they thought he was ‘possessed’.
He confounded the Scribes of the Law because he was so free from all precepts.
He confounded politicians so much, that Caiaphas
had him removed from sight asserting that he is a ‘blasphemer’.
Jesus called Herod, another politician, a ‘fox’.
He confounded the people of his own village to the extent
that they wanted to throw him off the cliff.
He confounded the crowds to such a level that they demanded that he should be killed.

He even confounded his best friends like Martha and Mary
who could not understand why he let Lazarus die.
He confounded his own apostles with his assertions on the bread of life
so much so they thought of leaving him
and he freely let a number of disciples go…
He scandalized his followers because of his freedom
with sinners, women and impure people.
He confused his mother…
“why have you done this to us?” she uttered.

Really, the closer you get to him, the less you understand him.

The Gerasenes implored him to leave their neighbourhood,
when they saw him casting out devils.
Nicodemus, intelligent though he was.
was bewildered in front of the conversation about new birth:
how can one go back into the womb?
The Pharisees were offended
because he criticised them.
The Apostles were surprised
when they saw him talking alone to a Samaritan woman,
a woman who had seven men.

He scandalized many because of his spirit of freedom:
he lets his disciples pick ears of corn on the Sabbath day.
He scandalized many because of his demands:
“anyone who divorces his wife and marries another, is guilty of adultery”
“how hard it is for those who have riches to make their way into the kingdom”
“it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than...”
He scandalized many because he was too compassionate:
he saved a woman caught in adultery from the clutches of the Pharisees;
he allowed a woman to rub his feet with ointment;
he let another wipe his feet with her hair.

He scandalized many people because he called the poor blessed and the rich cursed.
He altered values from top to bottom.

He scandalized many people because of his contesting spirit:
“you must therefore do and observe what they tell you;
but do not be guided by what they do,
since they do not practise what they preach.”

He was unconventional.
He was an irregular.
He scandalized them so much…
They got so fed up with him…
that they could not bear him any longer.
And they killed him…
outside the city!

If Jesus Christ does not confound you,
or scandalize you,
then the probabilities are that
you have already killed
your Master.
Perhaps in a courteous way!

"Your strength does not lie in numbers,
nor your might in violent men;
since you are the God of the humble,
the help of the oppressed,
the support of the weak,
the refuge of the forsaken,
the saviour of the despairing.
Please, please, God of my father,
God of the heritage of Israel,
Master of heaven and earth,
Creator of the waters,
King of your whole creation,
Hear my prayer.”

(Judith 9.11-12)

(c) Fr. Pius Sammut, OCD. Permission is hereby granted for any non-commercial use, provided that the content is unaltered from its original state, if this copyright notice is included.