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Are you led astray, you also?

Saturday, March 24, 2007
Saturday 4 of Lent

Readings: Jeremiah 11:18-20; Psalm 7; John 7:40-53

Somewhere near the heart of faith is the belief that something or someone meets me that is greater than anything I can imagine for myself. I do not meet with something that has been thought up, but something given, and given again and again. In the gospels, it is always that way around. It is the Christ who seeks human beings, not primarily human beings who seek God: the shepherd calls the sheep, not the sheep the shepherd. Faith always involves being attentive and ready to follow, to set out again on a path. There is a feeling of the inadequacy of your own resources and a readiness to let yourself go.

Those who have the germs of belief in many ways have no real idea as yet who the Christ is, or where he is leading them. Yet they are listening to something other than the chattering and distracting voices all around them. They hear a different kind of voice, ‘No one has ever spoken like this man’. It is a voice that seduces them out of the roles they are meant to be playing. They have at least an intimation of something greater than egoism or habit or career; they sense a happiness beyond their own fabrication.

The moment someone believes he has no need to go any further, no need to be open, he is on the edge of unbelief. The pharisees and the chief priests have a peculiar version of this illness. They are so sure of their interpretation of their religious tradition, that they simply have no need to re-examine accepted and well-tried positions: it is known … it is settled … no need to look any further. They have no need to be called out of themselves, to respond to an invitation, or even seriously to consider it. Though even they cannot entirely lock themselves up in silence; they still have vestigial ears. That is why they get angry.


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