Benedictine University and MySpiritualAdvisor.com’s Mark Kurowski reflects on how we try to fool God like the people saw Jesus the way they wanted to see Jesus. Do we do the same? Have we missed out on Jesus being more than we could have ever dreamed? Listen to this podcast of his reflection for the 30th Sunday of Ordinary Time. Please read Matthew 22:34-46.

 

{mp3}2011 10 23 A 61 30 Ord{/mp3}

For Benedictine University and MySpiritualAdvisor.com, this is Mark Kurowski with a reflection for Sunday, 10/23/2011The 30th Sunday of Ordinary Time.
Please pause this audio and read Matthew 22:34-46.
When I lived in Bedford, Indiana many years ago, I worked at a radio station as a salesman and a disk jockey.  I was single and not necessarily well off.  To make ends meet, I moved in with a guy who was a recent drop out from high school.  His name was Darren.  He had the silkiest and smoothest voice I had ever heard.  He was sought after by many smaller radio stations and he came to Bedford because we were in the Indiana University listening market.  We could be heard by a larger audience seeking to hear Classic Rock and Roll.
Now, that smooth and silky voice of his was not only sought after by the radio stations, but once it hit the airwaves it was enough to send women over the edge.  In the midst of that large listening audience there was a large group of women who were moved by this voice to the point they just could not contain themselves.  I mean it was embarrassing to hear these younger and older women alike phone this sixteen year old kid and invite him to all kinds of places, most of which are not mentionable.
Now, these women were showing a great deal of faith.  You have heard it said, “You believe because you have seen, but blessed are those who believe and have not seen.” I mean to tell you, I was always amazed at the faith of these women.  They believed that connected to Darren’s voice was the man of their dreams.  It was, if the man of their dreams was sixteen, six foot and 350 pounds.  Darren was huge!  Darren knew that because of the smallness and materialistic nature of our society, that these women would not want him after they learned he was, well, ahem, “flawed.”  Their belief was based on what they could imagine from hearing Darren’s voice.
I love Darren.  He was in my wedding.  He was loveable because he knew what people thought of him and didn’t hold it against them.  He would just sit there in the studio and smile at the presumptuousness of these women.  They assumed that they knew everything about him just by hearing his voice.  I used to say, “Darren, you’re the man of their dreams.” He would reply, “Yeah, they’re dreaming alright!”
Now, was Darren a bad catch because he was big? No way!  In fact, if a woman wanted a caring, sensitive guy who knew how to love people for who they were, Darren was the guy.  In fact, he developed a pretty good head on his shoulders.  He got his GED and went to Franklin College.  At the time of our wedding he had even shed 75 pounds.  What this goes to show us is that if the women who called in had true faith, then they would have gotten a better man than they could have ever dreamed.
Having faith is the key to everything.  Having faith is the key to all understanding.  These women could have had a better man than a guy who sounds great, looks good, but treats them like trash, if they could just have faith to see beyond all the physical trappings in their heads.  So, too, with the Pharisees! The Pharisees of Jesus’ day were outraged at the beginning of Chapter 21 when Jesus entered the temple and the children cried out,
“Hosanna to the Son of David!”
They did not accept this proclamation that Jesus would be the Son of David because that would mean that he was of a royal heritage.  He would be in the line of those who were anointed by God to save the people from any political captivity.  They were determined to question the authority and existence of Jesus because on the surface he questioned the political existence.
So, all through Chapters 21 and 22 we see the Sadducees, the Pharisees, the Scribes and elders trying to deflate Jesus’ authority.  All they could see was the physical trappings of a threat to their authority.  They could not see the fulfillment of their hope and prayers of a Messiah who would save his people from their sins.  Much like the women who phoned the radio station in hopes of their dream man, these leaders were reacting to the physical observable presentation of Jesus.
This is why they reacted to Jesus as a threat.  He was fulfilling the expectations of a political messiah.  For those who do not know, “Messiah” or “Christ” is an anointed one.  This refers to the fact that kings, prophets, and priests were anointed with oil as God’s claim upon their lives to lead his people.  Scripture said, in 2Samuel 7, that the Kingly line of David would rule forever.  Anyone who was a “Son of David” was in the line of kings who were Messiahs, Christs, that is, “anointed ones.”
So the question in this passage is not, will a messiah come, but what kind of Messiah will come.  How is the scripture to be understood?  What type of kingship would come to the Davidic line forever?  These are the questions which were being worked out in Jesus’ time.
This is the debate when the Pharisees come to Jesus and he asks them, “Who among you thinks about the Christ? Whose son is he?”  Well, of course they have been thinking about the Christ, the anointed one.  They were under political domination by the Romans, who wouldn’t want to get out from under that?  Who wouldn’t want God to raise up an anointed king, prophet, or priest, to deliver these people from Roman rule?
It is just like asking someone who doesn’t believe that Jesus was raised from the dead if they want to be closer to God.  Or, it is like asking someone who is not a Christian if they want to be reassured that at the resurrection of the dead they’re name will be read from the Book of Life and will live with God forever and ever.  Well, of course they do, but they cannot be expected to believe if they have spent all of their lives trusting in their sight, or their hearing, or their experience. 
God is not be seen outside of the work he does through his people.  God is not heard outside the hearing of the Church.  People will not know that they are experiencing the power of the Holy Spirit in their lives unless we go and say, “Hey, that was the Holy Spirit working in your life.”  People just don’t know because they have never lived life outside of what they have determined for themselves to be the truth.  This is just like the Pharisees.
So, when Jesus asks how it is that the Christ could be David’s son and the Lord at the same time, he throws the Pharisees a curve ball.  He quotes the 11th Psalm, a Psalm considered to be written by David, saying,
“The Lord said to my Lord, Sit at my right hand, until I put your enemies under your feet.”
Then he asks how David’s own son could be his Lord. They are unable to answer because it would be unthinkable to have a “Son of David” be David’s Lord!  How could his Son by birth be his Lord?  How could his Son be his Lord if David were dead?
There is a way, you know.  There is a way that David’s Lord could also be his son.  That way is if the Pharisees would have faith that the Lord God would become flesh and dwell among us.  It would require faith and faith alone.  It is something that could not be proved, seen, heard, or experienced in this life.  It would require a sure and certain trust that there was nothing which was impossible with God.  It would require that our faith not be in what we can see and know by seeing.  It would require a trust that was true and certain, sure and trustworthy, humble and strong, self-giving and sacrificing.  It would require the belief that the Lord God would be willing to humble himself to become a human.  Then if God became human he could then become human in the lineage of David and be not only the Lord, but also the Lord’s anointed, the Messiah, the Christ.  This is the only way that David’s Son could be his Lord.
We have in Scripture the testimony to that fact.  We have in the beginning Matthew the testimony that there was a man named Joseph who was a son of David from Bethlehem of Judah.  He was engaged to a maid named Mary.  An angel of the Lord came to him and said,
“Joseph, Son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.” Matt. 1:20.
Joseph had no marital relations with Mary but took the child to be his son, another Son of David. This child grew and became a man, “Jesus” he was named, because “he would save his people from their sins.” The one who was born and is both Son of God and Son of David, he came to save us from our sins, but who was looking for that?
Who was looking for the ultimate saving, the saving from our sins which separates us from God?  Not the Pharisees. They were mute. They could not say anything back to him because to understand how David’s son could be his Lord is to have faith.  It is to see by the power of the Holy Spirit what is not there.  It is the same way that David knew to say “The Lord said to my Lord…” It is the same way that you and I can know that there will be a better tomorrow.  It is the same way that you and I know that we will go to heaven.  It is the same way we know that we have had our sins forgiven and can now live a life of divine romance, we the bride and Christ the bridegroom.  We know because we can see with the eyes of faith that the Son of David was a man who also was the Son of God.  He became human so that we could become divine when we die.
In this Christ, the anointed one, there is a prophet who calls us to repentance in him.  In this Christ, the anointed one, there is a priest who laid down his own life in sacrifice for our sins.  In this Christ, the anointed one, there is a king who has led us into a holy Kingdom of which there will be no end.  This Christ is only the fulfillment of the prophecy of Nathan to David, this Christ is only the fulfillment o f our dreams if he is the Son of the living God who became human to life us up to eternity.
So, my friends, I say to you this day that we are not to be like those ladies who phoned the radio station looking to have our physical wants and desires fueled by a false faith in what we WANT to see.  We are not to be like those Pharisees who could not answer Jesus’ question because of their lack of perception.  We are to have faith in he who was conceived in a Virgin’s womb and died on the cross for our sins.  We are to have faith in the One testified to by millions of witnesses through the ages.  We are to have faith that there is a Christ, the Lord, who became our Lord and dwelt among us, who came so that all who trust in him with their lives will be saved from their sins to live in his eternal kingdom.  Amen?  Amen.
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