Commentary on the Gospel of

Joan Blandin Howard-Creighton University - retired

Memorial of Saint Gregory the Great, Pope and Doctor of the Church

Where are we going – traipsing down this rutted dusty road?  No one uses this path any more.    Where is Jesus going here?  What is he doing?  Does Jesus really mean for us to follow him?  There are easier ways to get to the lake. He’s getting in Peter’s fishing boat, with Peter.  Are they rowing across the lake – leaving all of us behind?  I don’t think I would have followed Jesus, if I had known it was going to be like this.  Its sandy, rocky and very crowded.  It appears that they are letting down the anchor. More fishing?  Why? They haven’t caught a single fish all day.  Jesus is sitting in the bow. Trying to talk to us?  I can’t see him, much less hear him.  There is too much chaos, confusion and bickering going on. Men, women and children vying for space.

He is motioning us to sit down. Some are trying to sit and get comfortable; comfort is hard to come-by here.  Others are standing, blocking my view.  Reminds me of the time Jesus invited us to sit down on the grass – but that was a comfortable place to rest.  This place is very uncomfortable – rocky, sandy and full of brambles. Who can rest in this place? I can’t hear what Jesus is saying but, I can feel what he is saying.  His arms are reaching out, he is pulling me to him.  I feel his closeness. He is making gentle comforting motions with his arms.  Vaguely I hear words, phrases – “be gentle… kind… make room for each other… care for each other… you are hungry and tired… share…listen… pain and sorrow…love as I have loved...”  Some around me are weeping. I feel confused. What am I to do?  A gentle breeze is coming off the lake and people are beginning to calm down, sit down.  All are turned toward him.  Straining with head and heart to hear above the fray.  What time is it – sun is setting over the lake, the sky is pinking up and people are beginning to stir.  Families, young and old go off in different directions.  There is an unusual atmosphere in the air.  Peace.  Moving slowly, some holding hands with their spouses, children, partners and quietly visiting with their neighbors and with strangers. There are people here speaking different languages, different dialects – people I don’t usually see in our towns and villages. People not usually welcome. The rage, frustrations and bitterness seem to have settle, if only for a bit.  I feel grateful that I did follow Jesus on this rocky path. I may not have actually heard all he had to say. But I did feel it, recognized it. I am calmed and comforted by his words, by his presence.  Jesus was with me and from the looks of it, with others as well. Together family, friends and strangers, we followed and heard his voice.

Where today will I hear the voice of Jesus, see the face of God and feel the breath of the Spirit?

Will I continue to follow Jesus on this sandy, rocky path?

When today, I hear his voice, feel his touch, Lord, soften my heart.


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