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Chris (email link at the bottom of each page)

Jesus and the Pharisees

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Pope Francis must be a bit of a nightmare for the Roman Curia. His easygoing, warm and inviting Latino approach to life has certainly ruffled a few feathers and raised a few eyebrows over the years since he became Pope. He has a kind of healthy and rather amusing approach to pomp, circumstance and the trappings of his centuries-old office.


However, Pope Francis is undoubtedly very conscious that he stands in the shoes of the humble fisherman. He refuses to wear the traditional papal red leather shoes, preferring instead his well-worn pair. He chooses to travel in a clapped-out Ford rather than the papal limo. He has declined to have the kind of security fitting for a leader of state, even saying no to bulletproof glass. He refuses to be a prisoner of the Vatican but rather its liberator. We should thank God that he is our Pope. Of course, Pope Francis is walking in the steps of jesus — because Jesus too ruffled feathers, kicked against the status quo and moved in the power of the Spirit.


Today we join Jesus seated at a 'nd of banquet, given, it would appear, in his honour. Many of the religious establishment of the day were there, watching to see whether he would step out of line. It is very likely that the sick man was a fellow guest but, remarkably, when he was healed by Jesus there was no joyful celebration, only stony silence. The law of the Sabbath had taken precedence over the law of God’s life and grace. What is at the heart of the matter here? Jesus was constantly challenging preconceptions about God and how to live by faith. He clearly loved the Pharisees, who on the whole were good men devoted to God and his law. They were, however, closed to what God was doing in their midst.



At the World Youth Day in Brazil in 2013, Pope Francis urged the young people present to mess things up in their parishes when they returned home. He meant that when following God’s will we may have to step out of line, ruffle feathers and challenge the status quo – we need to respect what has gone before but be open to what the Spirit is doing now in our midst.


Lord teach me to be open to the work of the Spirit both in my own life and in your world today.


Chris


From Bible Alive


Philippians 1:1–11 • Psalm 110(111) • 1–6   Luke 4:1-6



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