THE INTIMIDATION FACTOR...
Memorial of St. Benedict, Abbot: Tuesday of the Fourteenth Week in Ordinary Time
“The crowds were amazed and said, ‘Nothing like this has ever been seen in Israel.’ But the Pharisees said, ‘He drives out demons by the prince of demons.’ (From Matthew 9:32-38)
It seems that all those who met Jesus and witnessed his works found him to be a curious character, to say the least. There was a significant difference, however, between various groups. The Pharisees, unlike others, were simply not open to him. They were curious about him, for sure, but they were also envious and, most of all, they were intimidated by him and afraid of him. Many, if not all of them, never seemed to be able to get beyond this.
I doubt if any of us finds Jesus Christ to be intimidating, but we are probably aware that to submit ourselves to him, to his grace and mercy, requires making ourselves vulnerable. And this can be scary. Even though we know that he can take us to a better place, we are sometimes, perhaps, reluctant to go there. Again, it’s not because we are afraid of him or intimidated by him. It’s often because change can be frightening, especially if it requires letting go of something that we’re use to and making ourselves more vulnerable to God’s redemptive power.
Ask yourself one simple question today: is Christ inviting you to go in a direction that you are reluctant to go? Forgiveness and letting go of bitterness. Changing a bad behavior. Being healthier. Returning to church, to the sacraments. Putting off that one thing that could get you to a better place. And, if you are reluctant, ask yourself why.