2 Kings 19:9-11,14-21,31-36
At first glance, today’s Gospel extracts present some deceptively simple principles to help us lead good lives. Indeed, not casting pearls before swine and doing unto others as you would have them do unto you are among many Gospel aphorisms that have taken on universal cultural meaning, so much so that they’ve become guiding staples of everyday life.
However, when considered within their literal and literary contexts, there’s so much more to these moral metaphors than just the obvious. We are urged to be circumspect with our judgements because the judgements we give are the judgements we’ll get, telling us to always look to ourselves before making assumptions about others, to be self-reflective and discerning, to apply a considered and inclusive approach to all that we say and do.
There’s a current expression about diving down rabbit holes: following attractive conspiracy theories that readily align with immediate prejudices and which fuel reactionary responses. Matthew tells us that the road that leads to destruction is wide and spacious, and many take it … Isn’t this so broadly apparent within our current world? The warren of competing (self) interests is seemingly all-pervasive and often hard to resist.
But Jesus tells us to enter via the narrow gate, to take the hard road, to join the few who have found it. In living a thoughtful, reflective life – one which views all its many influences through the lens of his teaching – then we are surely on the right path.
Phil Page is a member of the St Joseph’s Hobart Parish