Would you like to see Jesus like those Greek visitors in the gospel story?
What are you likely to hear from him? Let’s look at today’s readings.
Here’s his advice for living as God would want.
First, keep to God’s covenant. It’s God’s will to be your Father and for you to be his children who show respect and love in return for all you have received. The best way to be respectful is to be true to yourself, to be the best you can be because you have been given all you need to live the good life that has been planned for you, by doing your duty: be reliable, take responsibility seriously, maintain good spirits despite Covid, avoid the selfishness that will bring worst disasters than Covid if you do not watch over the environment better. Learn to like challenges and to work honestly with others for the common good.
Secondly: accept in faith that Jesus suffered for you even to the extent of offering up his life for you. Jesus has gone before, gone through death because of humanity’s opposition to God the Father’s will. He has already won the victory; now it is your option to follow through eternity’s door after him when the time comes. It will be a wonderful revelation. So be ready to welcome life’s challenges along with Jesus. It’s wise to ask him for the help you need in prayer right now.
The third piece of advice today is to practise serving Jesus within his community by trusting the Father just as he did. What does that involve? Help others first when the request comes from family or Church or society. Be ready to be of service as Jesus asks. He has given the prime example of loving service of neighbour. He explained God the Father’s gospel to a suspicious audience therefore he understands the awkwardness we find today in addressing an unreceptive world; he understands what it is like to be under constant scrutiny from an often hostile and querulous media.
He has prepared his followers for giving up their time, their preferences; he warns them against the temptation of running away from responsibility; he warns of the hostility of the devil and he promises he will be with us always and that he will be true to the covenant. Notice he does not hesitate in asking us to follow him, because it is best for us now and forever despite the effort required. What you learn from Jesus is life-giving.
What we learn from others is not always life-giving. You may have seen a recent film about artificial intelligence. It is a parable based on biblical characters. A young computer programmer is invited to supervise an almost perfect female robot to discover more about intelligence for his company. But the characters are really watching each other to get the advantage. He gets too absorbed in who exactly he is himself and does not realise soon enough that he is part of an experiment too. The secret is to make use of others for your own benefit and then dispose of them when necessary by always staying in control. Be ready to walk out the door. He hesitates and unfortunately for him his female companion sees what is going on first and locks him in a sealed room in the laboratory, throws away the key and walks off into her own new life knowing nobody would ever know who she really was.
She is modern in thinking and says to herself, I have to take control of my own future creating myself, I will not suffer for others ever, I will model myself on the philosophy “me first”. Why? Because that is what I see all around me. The weak will suffer and be betrayed and buried alive. Sad but true. It’s a parable for the modern world. In total contrast Jesus asks you to respect God the Creator, accept that he has suffered for your greater good, model yourself on his example of being the loving servant. But that’s a bit old fashioned nowadays! Isn’t it?