A Most Dangerous Game (Tenth Ordinary)

Jesus responded, “Who do you think are my mother and brothers?” Looking around, taking in everyone seated around him, he said, “Right here, right in front of you – my mother and my brothers. Obedience is thicker than blood. The person who obeys God’s will is my brother and sister and mother.” (Mark 3: 33 – 35)

Jesus is often perturbed by his detractors’ illogic. They say Jesus drives out demons by the power of Satan. But, Jesus asks in disgust: “How can Satan drive out Satan?” The comment makes no sense. Of course, as Jesus knew well, he illogic is the point. Jesus’ critics wanted to keep people off balance and confused and thus fearful of following Christ’s countercultural ways.

During the rise of Nazism in Germany, the party relied on similar irrationality. As Yale professor Timothy Snyder explains in On Tyranny, “Fascists rejected reason in the name of will, denying objective truth in favour of a glorious myth articulated by leaders.” That myth included scapegoating Jews for the inequities real and perceived that they felt.

Snyder tells the story of Teresa Prekerowa, a young Polish woman who witnessed this evil myth take hold. After the Germans invaded Poland in 1939 and forced Jews in Warsaw to move to a restricted area of the city, “Teresa now observed that people quietly allowed their Jewish friends to slip away from their lives … At great risk to herself, Teresa chose to enter the Jewish ghetto a dozen times, bringing food and medicine to Jews she knew and Jews she didn’t know.” Later in life when asked about her extraordinary actions, Teresa called what she did “normal.”

Making loving acts of kindness “normal” is the dangerous game Christ calls us all to play.

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