The point I am alluding to, is that there is no room for common sense, adaptation and only very specific help. I won’t go on making my point for I’ll trust you all know the experience. The technological world has no soul or common sense. You have got to be an expert in the laws, processes and perhaps information. It’s kind of reflected in the fear some express that we are entering into a police state.
Did you read that the government was discussing a plan to have a Force on the roads with permission to search for a persons visa? True or false - the discussion and event is now out there - enough said.
JESUS AND THE LAW
The great challenge Jesus encountered in his day was the way the Jewish religion had shaped the culture of his people. Like the picture I’ve painted of our culture, there seems to have been a similar picture in Jesus day. The law had become so dominant and highly scrutinized by the authorities it was ‘police state’ like. The problem was compounded because they had the extra layer of the overarching Roman authority.
We all tend to have opinions about a range of topics. The good leader is able to analyse the ongoing circumstances that effect the pertinent body. When it comes to reading society in the context of the grand purpose of life, the perceptive person we speak of is prophetic.This was one of Jesus grand gifts. Some thought he was a great prophet and he certainly was prophetic. His analysis was so good we have little difficulty calling it Godly.
Today’s gospel gives an excellent illustration of his prophetic analysis of his society. I think it speaks to our own day.
The society was so law shaped that it robbed the people of their sense of soul. Fear of doing wrong and punishment made them lose touch with the inner realm of their personal experience. The core problem becomes hypocrisy. Leaders were experts at the outward show of rituals,but this had nothing to do with the quality of life that existed within their heart and mind.They could say they loved, or they were good, but their show was a pale imitation of a life of genuine substance.
They could teach the mercy of God, but in reality they were more interested in the washing of hands after returning from the market. Their obsession with control stirred the anger and hatred for others who failed. It was more important for them to do things the way they had always been done.
Recalling the words of Isaiah, Jesus recited, “This people honours me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.”
A NEW WAY
The reading proceeds to illustrate why Jesus was a profound teacher. He worked to break through the cultural prison set up in the Jewish mind. He graphically illustrates that the way the outside world could defile one was minimal in comparison to the way the state and attitude of the heart was mortally defiling a person.
“It is what comes out of a person that defiles: fornication, theft, murder, adultery, avarice, wickness, deceit, licentiousness, envy, slander, pride, folly. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.’ How are we going? Anyone squeaky-clean?
THE NEW PERCEPTION
Jesus profound teaching opened a new world to his people. His teachings, taught the way of dealing with our inner mind. He encouraged us to try what was possible and not fear failure. If we failed, seek forgiveness and try again. God was merciful. He loved displays of creativity and initiative, as the parables taught.
He was inspired by love and generosity, openness and honesty. This was the essence of the spiritual. It was encouraging the spirit of God to find channels of grace through the human heart. We humans can shine with the luminosity of God. It took humans almost two thousand years to explore this same teaching in the field of psychology, and even now we only partially know what Jesus could perceive in his spirit.
I’ve often made pronouncement about the ways of our world. Society has been committed to removing the influence of the Christian faith. But in its place it seems to be showing signs of become more controlling. The shallow secularity of our world is a great concern for it certainly appears to be becoming more law, rule, process centred. As Panikkar decribes, we are increasingly becoming an external artificial world, shaped by a dominant controlling environment. We are losing soul. Hypocrisy is common.
Jesus came that we may have spirit and life. In fact abundant life! Why wouldn’t people follow him, for he is truly, ‘the way, the truth and the life.’