Gospel Reflection for Sunday the 4th of July 2021
14th Sunday in Ordinary Time
To view the Gospel for Sunday please click here!
It is hard to know from this Gospel whether Jesus was regularly updating an Instagram account or not! Maybe he was and that’s how people knew so much about him or maybe he wasn’t and so: they didn’t have enough to work from because they seem to misjudge him entirely…. Eitherway! It would be interesting know what Jesus makes of Instagram, the Gospel unfortunately make no reference!
I know it is funny to think about Jesus and Instagram. It is just a bit of imaginative thinking. But there is a point because in a way there is a social media sense to what is going on in today’s Gospel. After all in the social media world there is always a gap between the truth and the story sometimes only small but sometimes big. And any user gets caught up in that – it’s how it operates. We almost want to see the world from a certain point of view but in the process we could fall into a trap of limiting our perspective.
We could ask ourselves the same question from this Gospel: do the people know Jesus personally or do they just know about him? What is their lens? Do they judge him on himself or on the vague things they have heard about him – what they have googled.
And: the answer is clear. The people don’t seem to know Jesus at all. These are their words “Where did this man get all this? What is this wisdom that has been granted to him and these miracles worked through him? This is the carpenter the son of Mary, the brother of James and Joset” and so on. It has such a struggle in it. A struggle to let go to the enormity of Jesus. They don’t want to believe because though it might be amazing it might actually upset their lives!
Social media can free us and expose us to new things but at the same time it can keep us trapped in the same things over and over again. In fact it is programmed to do that! And what a huge mistake that could cause us to make! What if we become conditioned to the small frame of our phones and we fail to recognise when something bigger than all of that comes along.
It is so easy in the social media world to box everyone and everything off. And the Gospel today points out that there is nothing new about this at all. Sometimes we can be impeded by our own fear and insecurities. We want everything to fit together, no risks, even if they are ones that could liberate us. Like staying within the limits of the Instagram box.
So yes, this is a little swipe at the dangers of social media. But on a deeper level what is important is not to mistrust social media. It can have a lot of benefits. But this is a reminder that it IS IMPORTANT to recognise that that the human heart longs to be very very very free and we must follow this desire diligently and courageously. The danger is as with the people in the Gospel is for fear keep our hearts small and selfish.
What is true for then as it is for now is that if we look at the world in a narrow and even a fearful way then our hearts can become narrow and fearful too. And instead, if we use our eyes to look for the good and pure then when things from heaven come our way, we will be ready to recognise them in their purity and goodness.
So, let us heed mistake of the people in the Gospel today who fail to recognise and accept Jesus, the Messiah! Let us renew our minds and hearts and look for the things of heaven (even on our phones), we will find that it will make a difference, we will really see Jesus as he comes!
-Fr Declan Lohan