The Gospel of the Day – 2016.06.19
Son of God, Son of Man – The Open Secret
One day when Jesus was praying alone in the presence of his disciples he put this question to them, ‘Who do the crowds say I am?’ And they answered, ‘John the Baptist; others Elijah; and others say one of the ancient prophets come back to life.’ ‘But you,’ he said ‘who do you say I am?’ It was Peter who spoke up. ‘The Christ of God’ he said. But he gave them strict orders not to tell anyone anything about this.
‘The Son of Man’ he said ‘is destined to suffer grievously, to be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes and to be put to death, and to be raised up on the third day.’
Then to all he said, ‘If anyone wants to be a follower of mine, let him renounce himself and take up his cross every day and follow me. For anyone who wants to save his life will lose it; but anyone who loses his life for my sake, that man will save it.’
Jesus lived among us and taught through words and deeds. He never wrote a thing. He gave us the spoken word, the oral command “love one another, as I have loved you.” He told us in the simplest of terms, that this is the whole of the law, and the only way to serve God. He went to his death as an exemplification of the rule.
He spoke in parables, but their no mystery in them. He spoke plainly, and he spoke true. This was the source of the power in his teaching. That is why he shook the world.
In the generations that followed him, the message became contorted, and distorted. The story of his life became filled with myths, tales of power. It was not enough to tell the truth as Jesus himself told it, they had to make of him a King, the Christ, Kyrios, the anointed one, a prophet like his predecessor John, or the hero Elijah, a mysterious figure known in arcane literature, the Books of Enoch; as the Son of Man, and exalted figure, and more…he became known as the Son of God, and even as God’s own self, dwelling amongst us in the flesh.
That is the trajectory of the propaganda that dogged the story of Jesus, replacing the real with the fantastic and surreal.
Jesus was a man, he taught us about the good, and the just, and the demands of love.
We should honor the truths that he spoke to so eloquently, by seeing him for who he truly was; a human being, like the rest of us, a role-model we should aspire to.
12th Sunday in Ordinary Time