Year A Proper 21: By whose authority?

Rarely does Jesus give a straight answer to a straight question; but rarely, too, is he quite as direct about his indirection as he is here. Leading to the following reflection:

Can you imagine being Jesus’ mother?
I don’t mean that part –
we’ve all seen the paintings and the sculptures
and the visions of that part. But
can you imagine being Jesus’ mother
on all of the other days?

“What would you like for breakfast, dear?”
“What do we have?”
“Fresh-baked bread and a few warm eggs.”
“Bring them here.”
“Bring them here, what?”
“Bring them here so that I may be
about my father’s work.”
“The word I was looking for,
was please.”

That was back in the days when
he would give a straight answer.

“Where are you going?”
“The Spirit blows where it will.”
“What time will you be home?”
“No one knows the day, or the hour.”

By the time he was teenaged, he had
perfected the art of answering
a question with a question,
[“Where have you been?”
“Where do you think?”]
in such a way that sometimes he was
out of the house and out of town
before his mother knew what had happened.

No wonder, when he began to get famous,
and they asked her what it was like,
raising a Messiah,
she put her head on its side
and fixed them straight:
“What do you think?”

About Rosalind C Hughes

Rosalind C Hughes is a priest and author living near the shores of Lake Erie. After growing up in England and Wales, and living briefly in Singapore, she is now settled in Ohio. She serves an Episcopal church just outside Cleveland. Rosalind is the author of A Family Like Mine: Biblical Stories of Love, Loss, and Longing , and Whom Shall I Fear? Urgent Questions for Christians in an Age of Violence, both from Upper Room Books. She loves the lake, misses the ocean, and is finally coming to terms with snow.
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