Monday, March 8, 2010

Monday of the Third Week in Lent

(II Kings 5:1-15ab; Luke 4:24-30)

Dostoyevsky’s famous “Grand Inquisitor” denies the faith he is entrusted to defend. Because he believes that Christ offered too much freedom, he dismisses Christ’s teaching in order to gain full human allegiance of the people by offering them bread and showing them authority. It is shocking to realize that the inquisitor is a cardinal of the Catholic Church – a priest and probably a bishop.

The story may critique Communism which Dostoyevsky saw on the horizon, but it also warns us of the possibility of our rejecting Christ. We identify ourselves as Christians, but do we accept the Lord’s teaching? Do we support others in humility, or do we “put others down”? Do we use our resources to assist the poor, or do we strive to accumulate as much as possible for ourselves? Do we pray frequently and fervently, or is our prayer limited to the times and places dictated personal habit and social custom?

In the gospel today the people of Jesus’ own town reject him. They cannot accept the fact that he has worked wonders in other places but refuses to do so among them. It is certainly possible that we reject Jesus as well. We would likely do so in the furtive ways indicated above, not by direct action as happened in Nazareth.