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Speaking to the Soul: No Offense

Speaking to the Soul: No Offense

Week of Proper 22, Year Two

[Go to Mission St Clare for an online version of the Daily Office including today’s scripture readings.]

Today’s Readings for the Daily Office:

Psalms 119:145-176 (morning) // 128, 129, 130 (evening)

Micah 2:1-14

Acts 23:23-35

Luke 7:18-35

John the Baptist, his disciples, and many readers of today’s gospel want to know one thing: Is Jesus “the One”? John wants to know whether Jesus is the one sent by God to launch a new kingdom. Two of John’s disciples track down Jesus and ask him John’s question: “Are you the one who is to come, or are we to wait for another?” Is Jesus the one they’ve been waiting for?

Later generations have also asked versions of this question: Is Jesus the one-and-only Son of God? Is Jesus the one-and-only way to get to heaven, or to bring justice and peace? Jesus doesn’t give John’s disciples a clear answer. Instead, Jesus asks them simply to report what they’ve seen and heard with their own eyes and ears. To mention a few of these things, “the blind receive their sight . . . the lepers are cleansed . . . the poor have good news brought to them.” Jesus asks only for minimal recognition of his work, saying, “blessed is anyone who takes no offense at me.”

So, IS Jesus “the One” (and only One)? From today’s gospel, we know that Jesus mostly wants people to acknowledge his work of healing and justice. He may not even want people to advance claims about him that others will find offensive. Sometimes, claims about Jesus (or a particular version of Jesus) being the one-and-only can get in the way of joining all of our neighbors in pursuing health, peace, and good news for the poor. So let the work of healing and justice proceed today, unobstructed by any insistence that Jesus is the one and only. This Lord in his humility means no offense.

Lora Walsh blogs about the Daily Office readings at A Daily Scandal. She serves as Priest Associate of Grace Episcopal Church in Siloam Springs and assists with adult formation and campus ministry at St. Paul’s in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

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