Jesus Handles a Heckler
18th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle C

Luke chapter 12, verse 13 to 21

We have all had the experience of trying to get our point across only to be interrupted by someone who asks a question or makes a statement that has nothing whatever to do with the subject at hand.

It can be very frustrating, even demoralizing. But not so for Jesus.

In the Gospel just read, he was interrupted by someone who was probably only half serious in demanding that Jesus straighten out, what he maintained to be, his brother's twisted notion of justice.

Jesus did not ignore him as we might have done a heckler... he picked up the ball and ran with it. Jesus, as always, was in full control of the situation. Ever vigilant, he saw an opening and took advantage of it.

Before the interruption Jesus had been speaking of spiritual values, of the promise of The Holy Spirit, of the Father's love for each one of them.

He was underlining the ephemeral nature of so much of what they considered to be of primary importance. Wealth, social standing, beauty, power and so on... but at least one person in the crowd was not convinced. To him, life is all about money and possessions. Either you are a somebody or you are a loser.

The way he saw it, he was being cheated by his brother and if Jesus wanted to demonstrate His usefulness, then, here was His chance... convince his brother to anti-up!

"Friend!" Jesus said, "Friend... I am not here to arbitrate your disagreement, but I will give you, all of you, this word of advice. Be careful of greed, all kinds of greed: greed for money, possessions, power, fame... whatever."

Jesus understands that it is hard for us to accept that being a winner in His sight has nothing to do with being number "one" and has everything to do with being, essentially, a person for others. A seeker of truth and a doer of good.

Today, he asks us to think about it. From a practical point of view, to shrug it off would be a great mistake because his way leads to happiness... not just in the life to come but happiness in this life too.

The other way can lead to occasional moments of triumph but is always set in a generally unhappy, anxiety ridden, life of frustration and dissatisfaction.

You canít have it both ways. So Jesus says, "Make your choice!"

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