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Jesus’ unromantic realism

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Fr. Luigi Maria Epicoco - published on 06/21/22

Taking Jesus seriously isn’t a walk in the park; instead, it’s a difficult road, but it’s the only road that leads anywhere.

Today’s readings can be found here.

Matthew 7:6, 12-14

Reflection

The request that Jesus makes in the Gospel today could seem a little disdainful:

Do not give what is holy to dogs, or throw your pearls before swine, lest they trample them underfoot, and turn and tear you to pieces.

However, behind this unromantic image lies a pragmatic realism which we should never lose from sight: Not everyone can understand our way of life or what we believe in. Forgetting this is a sin of ingenuity and means exposing what is dearest to us to public ridicule. We must always choose carefully what to say, when to say it, and to whom to say it.

Going a step further, Jesus continues: “Do to others whatever you would have them do to you,” the golden rule that reminds us that very often we expect good from others but are unwilling to give it when it’s our turn.

A final realistic note from today’s Gospel is found in this last warning:

Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the road broad that leads to destruction, and those who enter through it are many. How narrow the gate and constricted the road that leads to life. And those who find it are few.

Taking Jesus seriously isn’t a walk in the park; instead, it’s a difficult road, but it’s the only road that leads anywhere. The other roads, by contrast, are more comfortable but always lead to cosmic emptiness. I know many people who experience this emptiness, and no longer find any meaning in life because they no longer see meaning in what they are doing. The Gospel is demanding, but it gives in return a sense of meaning that fills all of life, in every aspect, to the end and beyond.

~

Father Luigi Maria Epicoco is a priest of the Aquila Diocese and teaches Philosophy at the Pontifical Lateran University and at the ISSR ‘Fides et ratio’, Aquila. He dedicates himself to preaching, especially for the formation of laity and religious, giving conferences, retreats and days of recollection. He has authored numerous books and articles. Since 2021, he has served as the Ecclesiastical Assistant in the Vatican Dicastery for Communication and columnist for the Vatican’s daily newspaper L’Osservatore Romano.

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