Dare to put yourself in Jesus’ shoes today. I imagine Jesus knows full well that he is speaking to a tough crowd; the priests, scribes, and elders. He has tried to get through to them in many ways and at many times before, without success. So, he decides to go straight to the heart of the matter and tells a story which illustrates how badly they are acting. But this approach does not work any better than all the other attempts to get through to them. They just want to make it all about the 613 Commandments of the Torah rather than the Love of God.

Is it time for Jesus to take his own advice which he gave the apostles when he commissioned them to preach to the lost sheep of Israel, “If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, leave that home or town and shake the dust off your feet?” What a terrible thing, to totally give up on relating to anyone in your life. But, do we sometimes have no other choice? I do not know for sure and the thought of it makes me sad.

—David McNulty works in the Operations office for the Midwest Jesuits.