"They rose up, drove him out of the town,
and led him to the brow of the hill on which their
town had been built, to hurl him down headlong.
But he passed through the midst of them and went away."
How do we respond when Jesus confronts us? How often to we try to push him over the nearest cliff when his words cramp our style?
For many decades now, so many have sought to emphasize the love of God while at the same time progressively pushing away any notion that this love makes demands on us. We want a "Gentle Jesus" who doesn't really care what we do - a God who makes no demands. We want to make God in OUR image. But license is not freedom, and real love requires growth and transformation. If we just stay the way we are, we cut ourselves off from that transformation and we will surely die.
Someone reminded me recently that oftentimes when a tree has died, the remaining sap within it continues to enable some leaves to grow. Though passers-by may see the leaves and think the tree is just fine, the reality is that the tree is dead.
May we have the courage to hear Our Lord's words to us and amend our lives, giving him all the room in our hearts that he wants so that he can nourish us with what we need to truly live.