The Imitation of Christ by Thomas à Kempis, Book III Chapter XXIV: ”That We Should Avoid Curious Inquiry into the Affairs of Others” (third entry)
Just prior to this line, Kempis has Christ speaking of “distractions and great darkness in the spirit” that come from being too involved in worldly affairs and being overly concerned with what others think of us. Our hearts must not be cluttered with these sorts of things but rather we must endeavor to prepare ourselves for the Lord entering more deeply into our beings by clearing out the dross of illicit or unhelpful carnal affections.
|Today’s Gospel reading: Mt 12:14-21
This reading begins with the Pharisees’ reaction to another healing on the Sabbath. They had determined that enough was enough, thus they put into high gear their plot to have Jesus executed. Jesus, learning of this, flees from there, curing all who followed Him, but warning them not to let anyone know of His whereabouts. Then, Matthew presents a quote from the beginning of Isaiah 42 that Jesus is said to fulfill with this action.
Jesus had plenty of run-ins, and sometimes very harsh words, for His seemingly constant adversaries, the Pharisees. He would no doubt have been overjoyed to have these religious leaders ultimately join His ministry from their very powerful and influential positions, It seems that, in the end, few did become disciples. They, presumably “were diligent in awaiting My coming” but would not “open to Me the door of your heart.” Their hearts remained stony.
The Pharisees believed things would go better for them if Jesus were no longer in their lives. May not the same be said of us! Jesus challenged the perceptions and understanding of God and His Word of these men. Few were up to the challenge. Are we up to the challenge of the “hard sayings” of Jesus? Mark Twain famously said, “It ain’t the parts of the Bible that I can’t understand that bother me, it’s the parts that I do understand.” It’s okay if parts bother us — if they compel us to change for the better. Let us welcome Jesus to “bother” us whenever we need it.