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Despotic Gods and distorted realities

( is 8.23-9.3; 1 Cor 1.10-13,17; Mt 4.12-23)

Hearing of people trapped in prisons and in chains, we start to picture darkened cells, guard towers and fences festooned with razor wire. It can be a shock to see that those inside may be rather the prisoner of relentless propaganda and ceaseless disinformation. Like many in North Korea, their image of life elsewhere is fearful and horrific – but utterly devoid of reality. They embrace it unhesitantly for it is all they have ever known.

Jesus cured lepers and wiped away chronic illnesses. (Mt 4.23) Yet before this, he preached with clarity and power, cleansing his listeners’ minds and hearts of false burdens and images of a despotic God, flooding them with the transforming light promised by Isaiah. (Mt 4.15-16) Paul would continue this work of enlightenment, stressing how divisions within the community were just the continuation of their former blindness and lack of love.

It is so difficult to realise that all of us are also subject to a constant barrage of distorted reality even now, ideas such as that a ceaseless stream of material goods and entertainment can bring us abiding happiness, and that we humans are the centre and creators of the world about us. We need to be like the first disciples, Andrew and Peter, James and John, ready to walk away from security, to have our minds unchained and washed clean by Jesus (Mt 4.18-21), who alone is the fullness of truth and love.

Source: 2nd Sunday of year A1

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