Most of us might define blasphemy as the taking of the Lord’s name in vain. We know that we must not do this, and we accept the third of the ten commandments which makes this clear: “Do not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.”
Now read the opening of today’s gospel and notice Jesus’ definition of blasphemy:
The Jews picked up rocks to stone Jesus.
Jesus answered them, “I have shown you many good works from my Father.
For which of these are you trying to stone me?”
The Jews answered him,
“We are not stoning you for a good work but for blasphemy.
You, a man, are making yourself God.”
According to Jesus, we blaspheme when try to be God ourselves. This was the temptation for Adam and Eve in Eden. The serpent deceived them saying “For God knows that when you eat from the tree your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God...” (Gen 3)
Of course we know better than to call ourselves God, but we often act as if everything depends on us when in reality everything depends on our co-operation with God. When we live in relationship with Jesus Christ who is God-with-us we can relax.
Thanks be to God we humans don’t have to be God.
You might have heard the bedtime prayer of Pope John XXIII who in the late 1950’s early ’60’s must have carried his fair share of worries for the church and world.
At the end of a long day full of worries he would pray: “Well Lord, it’s your church, I’m off to bed!”
A few years ago at the annual Rimini meeting in Italy the most popular t-shirt on sale carried the caption:
“There is a God
but it’s not you
I really needed to be reminded of this, thank you for a very timely reminder.
I am having a day when I have taken on too much and too much is being asked of me. There seems to be too much for me to organise. But when I read your reflection I saw that I needn’t carry all the responsibility myself. By sharing with others I involve can them in my work for the greater good of my community and lighten my load so that I don’t break under everything that I take on.
I will laugh all day thinking of Pope John leaving all responsibility to God while he goes to bed – thank you for this wonderful ray of sunshine to brighten my day !
You’ve all made me think that maybe when popes go to bed we could do our share, 🙂 as long as we share our load too with our daily journeying companions, prayerfully, humbly, gratefully. A blessed, relaxed weekend to you all.
At 70+ years all that is going on in the world seems to be much more worrying than when we lived with the Cold War and the Cuban crisis which I still remember so clearly so I loved your ending. Thank you John. I can now relax and go to sleep tonight placing my trust in God.