Seems to me that during Ordinary Time, the Church unravels the mystery of discipleship in the lives of believers today. Let’s see how that works with these readings…
In one sense, both readings address the issues of “corruption that is in the world because of evil desire.” First Peter names it; the gospel of Matthew illustrates it in parable.
I find the discourse about this topic particularly neuralgic in our time. I think it’s because there are several different images of what that all looks like from which folks function. Here are two key examples:
The world out there is corrupt. Do not be influenced by it.
The operative picture here is obvious… Don’t venture outside home, church, nation, neighborhood, whatever because those people out there are bad. The implication here is that the world in which we/you inhabit is untouched as of yet by evil desires. We are susceptible to them, but if we remain vigilant, we can avoid such dastardly badness.
The tendencies any of us recognize in the world already exist within us.
This is the point of view I prefer. It states that we are already immersed in whatever vice we name “out there.” It’s much like Jesus’ statement in the gospel of Mark concerning evil desires proceeding from the human heart.
Yep, that would be my heart and your heart.
That is, we begin by thinking that Jesus is addressing only the chief priests, scribes, and elders with his parable. It’s those nasty people then whom he means. They are the one with hearts willing to protect “theirs” by murder. The gospel becomes truly saving when and if we allow this parable to speak to us directly today.
Yep, it’s you and me brother and sister. It’s you and me.
What I DON’T mean is that we should live in guilt and shame because at core we are bad, nasty, and brutish. What I do mean is that coming to clarity about the true mystery of our motives becomes salvific when we encounter Jesus Christ again and again without pretense.
The greater mystery is that “the stone which the builders (yep, that’s us) rejected has become the cornerstone!” That’s the mystery to be grateful for.
Happy Ordinary Time!