Hanging On the Word

In Luke’s Gospel, we see a rare side of Jesus where he exhibits justified anger because merchants have defiled the temple area: “’My house shall be a house of prayer, but you have made it a den of thieves.’” (NAB, LK 19:46) Jesus’ outrageous behavior incensed and angered many. He was viewed by them as revolutionary and anti-establishment, and he was clearly unconcerned with people’s opinions and positions; rather, he who is Truth, taught that same Truth in love, even though it would ultimately lead to his execution. Scripture says, “The chief priests, the scribes, and the leaders of the people, meanwhile, were seeking to put him to death, but they could find no way to accomplish their purpose because all the people were hanging on his words.” (19:48)

People were hungry for Jesus’ teaching. They thirsted for the Truth that only his words could quench. Those words are eternal and everlasting, and the reality is that people today have the same needs. Jesus’ words are just as applicable and needed today as they were 500 years ago, 2000 years ago, or 5000 years ago. Today, however, we are the voice of Jesus, and we are called to proclaim his Good News to our world – our families, friends, coworkers, and society. The Word of God will continue to create controversy and division, and will cause some to persecute us, precisely because Christ’s teachings are based in love, not selfishness and self-centeredness. Regardless of our fallen nature, our conscience is attracted to goodness, and those who are open to love, truth, beauty, and goodness, will “hang on every word” that comes forth from the mouth of Christ. All people are created in the image and likeness of God, and as the great St. Augustine reminds us, everyone’s soul is restless until it rests in the Lord.

May I seek you everywhere and in all things. May I hear your word in truth and humility, so that I may proclaim it to the world, in what I say, but most especially in how I live my life. Give me courage in the face of controversy and persecution to continue to proclaim to the world, the Good News of truth, love, mercy, and forgiveness revealed through your Son, Jesus. Amen.

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