9 June
Mk 12:35-37

While Jesus was teaching in the temple, he said, ‘How can the scribes say that the Messiah is the son of David? David himself, by the Holy Spirit, declared,
“The Lord said to my Lord,
‘Sit at my right hand,
            until I put your enemies under your feet.’ ”
David himself calls him Lord; so how can he be his son?’ And the large crowd was listening to him with delight.

Today's passage puzzles the scholars greatly.  It could bear several interpretations.  The people who were listening to Jesus were clear in their minds that the Messiah would be a descendent of King David – because of a text in their Scriptures, “I will establish the throne of his [David’s] kingdom forever” (2 Samuel 7:13).  They were clear: they knew the kind of Messiah they wanted.  Whatever interpretation his saying is to bear, it is obvious that he is ruining their clarity.  He is either saying that the Messiah will not be a descendent of David, or that he will be much more than a descendent of David. 

There are people who insist on clarity above all else, thinking that clarity is a proof of truth.  But there are many things that are clear and false.  When we think we have understood something we say “I have it!”  We use the words ‘having’, ‘grasping’, ‘holding’, and the like.  Even the word ‘concept’ (from Latin capio) means ‘to seize’.  These words should make us pause, because fundamentally it is not we who seize the truth, it is the truth that should seize us.  As Chesterton put it, we are not here to get the skies into our heads, but to get our heads into the skies.  To promote false clarity is to be an enemy of the truth.

 

 
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This page gives a very brief commentary by Donagh O’Shea on the gospel reading for each day of the month. 

 

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