“M-m-m-m-m-o-o-o-m-m-m!” shouted the young girl to her mother as she attempted to hit her older brother in the arm, “He keeps staring at me! Make him go sit in the corner!”
We’ve all seen it. And by “it” I mean we’ve all seen a child—maybe even our own—tattletale on a sibling or friend. The motivating factor behind this act of tattling could range from trying to receive special attention to wanting to play with a particular toy, but ultimately, the tattletaler seeks to shine negative light on the one they are tattling on.
In today’s Gospel passage, the Pharisees are exhibiting classic tattletale-esque behaviors as we read:
And they watched him, to see whether he would heal him on the sabbath, so that they might accuse him . . . . The Pharisees went out, and immediately held counsel with the Hero'dians against him, how to destroy him.
This is one of several encounters we read about in the Gospels where attempts are made to destroy Jesus. Whether it’s for healing a crippled woman (Luke 13: 10-18) or a man on the sabbath (Luke 14: 1-6), Jesus’ works are constantly scrutinized by the Pharisees.
And it doesn’t seem fair. It doesn’t seem fair that the Son of God should be ridiculed for doing good, and it doesn’t seem fair that the Son of God should have to suffer for speaking the truth. But He was. And the ridiculing continues today.
Perhaps you’ve experienced a moment in your life when you felt attacked because of your faith. Or perhaps you’ve even ridiculed another because of his or her religious beliefs or cultural norms. Whatever side of the ridiculing you’ve been on, it doesn’t feel good, and it is not the way Jesus would want us to act.
And so my challenge for you today is to be fearless when it comes to defending your faith and to respect those around you. Saint John Paul II offers insight for how to live this way with his words:
Do not be afraid to be the saints of the new millennium! Be contemplative, love prayer; be coherent with your faith and generous in the service of your brothers and sisters, be active members of the Church and builders of peace. To succeed in this demanding project of life, continue to listen to His Word, draw strength from the Sacraments, especially the Eucharist and Penance.
Be fearless in defending your faith.
Joan Nagel is a Registered Dietitian, and in her spare time she can be found reading, writing, and drinking coffee. You can find out more about her here.