Tuesday of the Ninth Week in Ordinary Time
The Pharisees and the Herodians try to trip Jesus up in today’s Gospel. The great temptation in religious life – at least in a morally oriented religious life, as Biblical religion would be – is Pharisaism. That is, a blind quest for holiness.
How odd! Isn’t holiness the one thing worth everything else, the supreme good? Isn’t it worth everything in the world to be holy? Jesus Himself tells us to be holy – but as Our Heavenly Father is holy. And that means, loving the good as well as the bad, doing good for all, regardless of how we view them, even as the Father sends rain on everyone….
It is not the quest for holiness that is the problem. It is the quest for holiness that blinds us to that which we do not consider holy. God is wild and free and unpredictable: true holiness is to be like Him. But we want to trim holiness down into some code, some system, some recognizable modus operandi.
But the “Spirit bloweth where it listeth….” The Spirit of God will lead us into true holiness, through the incarnation – the life, death and resurrection – of Jesus Christ, who is Holiness Incarnate. But we must surrender all judgment to Him, and rely on service and love alone. Otherwise, we place ourselves on a pedestal of holiness, and put out our feet to trip up anyone who might challenge our self-esteem.