Editor’s Note: The following is part of Millennial Lenten Reflections, a blog series in collaboration with Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good. Short reflections on the day’s readings, written by young adults from FMS and other organizations, will be posted everyday throughout Lent.
The image presented to us in today’s Gospel is stark. Jesus, having publicly placed himself in the lineage of salvation, is stoned. We can imagine a hurt, misunderstood man rushing from the scene with cuts, bruises, perhaps even broken bones.
God’s people, when reminded of the covenant promised for generations, do not recognize it. They even lash out in anger at the memory. The psalm sung before the Gospel reading — “If today you hear his voice; harden not your hearts” — reminds us of how many times we ourselves have done just the same.
For the people in the story, God came to visit as a Nazarene. A man of humble from the periphery of the time, who traveled to announce the everlasting and yet new reign of love.
For us, how does God come? How does God announce this reign? As the homeless person we shoo off the cathedral steps—never to appreciate their wisdom? As the person we say cannot experience committed, life-long love because he or she is transsexual — never to witness a couple’s beauty? As the woman we excommunicate because she dare claim a priestly role — never to experience her ministerial gifts?
Today’s Gospel presents us with an opportunity to reflect on those we have stoned, on when we have rejected God’s love because it did not look familiar, comfortable.
Joshua J. McElwee is NCR’s Vatican correspondent. A graduate of The Catholic University of America, his reporting and feature writing have earned numerous awards from the Catholic Press Association of the U.S. and Canada and have been featured in Vatican Insider, The Huffington Post, The Irish Catholic, The Official Catholic Directory (The Kenedy Directory), and other outlets.