The trouble with ridiculing and attacking other people, whether it be a referee at a basketball game (they zebras are patently blind!) or a rival or a public official is that the very bitterness of our attacks makes us hate the other person even more.
If one considers, let us say, Northern Ireland and Israel, one understands that the bitter rhetoric of attack in both places is often more the cause of conflict than merely its effect.
The advise Jesus is giving is not merely sound spirituality, it is also wise psychology.
Juliette Binoche, the wondrous French actress, was being interviewed on the Jay Leno show about her film “Chocolat” – a marvelously Catholic film in which chocolate is a sacrament of the goodness and love which animates the universe.
Mr. Leno, as is his custom, was making fun of President Clinton. Ms. Binoche was not amused. You Americans, she informed Leno, do not have enough respect for your leaders. You should respect them more. Leno was nonplused.
None of his guests had ever said anything like that. He tried to laugh it off. Ms. Binoche would have none of it. I am serious she said, if you don’t respect your leaders, then you wont respect your country. Leno tried to change the subject. The woman was trying to deprive him of his comedy sthick.
Yet which of the two was following more closely the description of Christian behavior in today’s Gospel?
1 He who dwells in the shelter of the Most
High, who abides in the shadow of the Almighty,
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