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Thoughts for the Week
 
 

 

Twenty-second Sunday after Pentecost

Thoughts for the Week - Fr R Taouk 
16th October 2016

Christ and His attitude to All Lawful Authority by Rev. Fr. Sertillanges

When Christ went to Jerusalem for the great feasts, He was in perpetual conflict with the rulers. Why was this so? It was because, however respectful our Divine Lord might be to authority, and however desirous of maintaining peace, He could not resign His own authority, nor could He ignore the work He had come to do. 

Respect to earthly power has its limitations; in excess it serves to destroy rather than to edify. Jesus was in Galilee, which was then under the jurisdiction of Herod. While He was preaching before a great crowd of people, the Pharisees pretending to be anxious as to His personal safety came to Him and said: "Depart, and get Thee hence, for Herod hath a mind to kill Thee". He answered: "Go and tell that fox, 'Behold I cast out devils, and do cures today and tomorrow, and the third day I am consummated. Nevertheless, I must walk today and tomorrow, and the day following, because it cannot be that a prophet perish out of Jerusalem.'" What wonderful words! What tranquil majesty they hold! What grave simplicity they bear! Does He not here show all that He is free? Is He not in very truth a Master?

"Go, tell that fox!" He calls him by this name, this crowned impostor, coward and murderer. What an example He sets to those who, in moments of weakness and tepidity, though they have the right to speak indeed, whose duty it is to speak think they can serve God by maintaining a cowardly silence. He will not allow His truth to resign its rights to those who, even on the pretext of prudence or charity, try to silence the representatives of Christ.

As though we could be prudent only by being cowardly! As if truth could only be preserved by being hidden under a bushel! As though one could show love for one's brother by abandoning him to the treachery and snares of his enemies! And what message did He send to this fox/Herod? He said: "Behold, I cast out devils, and do cures today and tomorrow; after that is the hour of the powers of darkness. I will suffer all that I must suffer, and meanwhile, I will accomplish that which I have come to do. After three days will come My death, but death because I will it, and where I will it, not in your kingdom, O ruler of Galilee! but at Jerusalem".

Such is the attitude of Jesus before manís authority, no provocation, but absolute liberty. Jesus came on Earth to edify and to establish a spiritual power. If, then, He found any resistance, there was but one thing for Him to do: Break the opposing force, and, above all things, guard that which was essential to His work namely, His liberty. This, then, is what we must understand when we consider the relations of Jesus with the Jewish authorities. There is, indeed, a false liberty which consists in judging without the right to judge, in seizing without permission, in condemning without authority; but we cannot speak of this sort of liberty in connexion with Him Who possessed all rights and authority, and Who was the Source of all wisdom. His conduct was always prudent, and well did He demonstrate to all that He was master of His work, His actions, and Himself.