Scripture: Lectionary 471: Romans 4:1-8. Psalm 32:1-2.5.11. Luke 12:1-7:
Again the crowds are pressing against Jesus to listen to his words. He
continues to teach them and the disciples about discipleship. The whole
Journey Narrative in Luke, which is almost ten chapters, is about teaching
his disciples and other listeners about what it means to follow him. Jesus
always speaks clearly and with authority and wisdom. We are among those
who listen; some of the crowd are really “friends” of Jesus and he
addresses them and it is they who listen. Hopefully, we are among them.
Jesus asks them and us to be transparent in our relationships with one
another and certainly in our relationship with God who sees through each of
our thoughts and personal secrets. We know we are Jesus’ friends when we
strive to love one another in honesty, truth, and appropriateness. The
love commandment is manifested in our relationships; this love is so
precious that it bears the special name “AGAPE.” It will be one of the key
words used in speaking of the Eucharist in the early days of the Church.
Such love for Jesus and one another is at the heart of our call to
Hypocrisy is what eats away from within and takes friendships away from us.
The word is similar to what we say as “speaking out of both sides of the
mouth.” We pretend to be who we really are not; we are not transparent when
we are hypocritical. It must be serious for Jesus uses this word whenever
he corrects those in leadership roles who probably are more tempted to be
hypocritical. We sometimes show a “persona” that is really not who we are
as persons. We sometimes are not totally honest and appropriate in a
relationship; we need to control and cannot let go of certain behaviorisms
in our lives. The “woes” are then falling upon us. Luke is the Gospel
writer who uses the woes more than the others and it is within the long
journey story where Jesus is teaching us the cost of discipleship. We are
called to work together as God’s people and not to parade
“self-sufficiency”, self-complacency, and individualism. These are the
yeast of hypocrisy.
True friends are those who are transparent to one another and who do not
put on airs. Jesus tells all of us in today’s passage not to be afraid to
leave aside all these “yeasts” that can ferment within our hearts. We are
to “let go” and “let God” help us in our relationships. We are worth more
than sparrows or flowers in the field in God’s sight and God’s loving and
providential care. Jesus knows even the number of hairs on our heads or
the lack thereof! We pray this day that we may learn to be transparent in
our relationships with each other and that we do not put on a “persona”
that makes us better than we really are. Amen.