March 27, 2020
As Jesus moved through the festival crowds in Jerusalem, his presence created ripples of glances and whispers. They speculated about who he could be. However, they knew he was in trouble, and that was even more interesting than his identity.
We can feel the pressure build uncomfortably throughout this week’s readings, as the Pharisees close in on their plan to have Christ arrested. Jesus, no doubt, could feel it too.
Finally, he’s had enough. In the middle of the temple area he cries out loudly, “"You know me and also know where I am from. Yet I did not come on my own, but the one who sent me, whom you do not know, is true. I know him, because I am from him, and he sent me."
Most of us know that once gossip is given a track and even just a little momentum, it rapidly becomes a speeding locomotive that even the plainspoken truth can be powerless to stop. Eventually, the train of lies slows down, but not before flattening many in its path. No one – neither the gossipers nor the subjects of gossip, emerge unscathed.
In Jesus’ case, the Pharisees’ evil agenda drove the talk, which is certainly worse than the idle gossip most of us engage in today – but only worse by degrees.
Gossip is one of the most difficult temptations to resist. Its motivations are legion: entertainment, judgment, manipulation. Processing with a trusted friend is different; this kind of discussion helps to clarify our emotions and resolutions around a difficult situation and has none of the thrill, haughtiness or subterfuge of gossip.
This Lent, let us be vigilant to check our true motives before we discuss other people’s affairs.