Commentary on the Gospel of
Discipleship: in His footsteps in moments of trial
Discipleship is about following in the footsteps of the master. In the midst of challenges, the disciple looks up to the Lord, copies from His wisdom. St. James reminds us that challenges are bound to come our way in the course of our faith-expression. But what really matters most is one’s perseverance. And perseverance naturally has a telos, a focus, in this case it is ‘a journey towards union with God.’ On this journey temptations come on the way, obstacles spring up, discomforts rear their heads, confrontations besiege the disciple. One fact is obvious in all these: our Master, the Lord Jesus Christ passed through all these. He responded to them when each came up. He is our Model.
Today’s Gospel reading presents one of such examples. The religious leaders demand a sign! They ask for a miracle. They want him to demonstrate his divine power. They want to engage him in a kind of power tussle. But His mission is deeper than what miracles demonstrate. He knows that those asking were not yet ready to embrace the deeper meaning of His Mission at that point in time. And he applies His wisdom. He does not utter a word in response to the demand! He walks away. Sometimes, we need to apply the principle of ‘selective ignoring,’ that is, deliberately choosing to let go of particular situation, patiently waiting for the right moment. That’s exactly what our Lord did. Sometimes it could be when tension, anxiety, anger begin to accumulate, one can wisely like our Lord Jesus Christ, decide to withdraw in order to address the issue when things normalize.