In life, we often experience opposing events, actions and words each challenging the other, each presenting an alternative view. Life is complicated, and often a muddle of decisions made with insufficient preparation or information. Even within our own being, we are sometimes at war with ourselves. Our own feelings pull us in different directions and our best intentions are often undermined by our own decisions and actions.
St Paul firmly believes that there is an answer to the contradictions and conflicts that each of us may be fighting within or without, and the answer is Jesus Christ. We are called to follow him and learn from him, as he is the one who can bring peace in complexity.
There is so much in the life of Jesus that contradicts the expected order of the world. That a king should come riding on a donkey and seek to act as servant of all was not expected. God sent his Son to die for our sins, the opposite of what most would normally expect. But, for those who have eyes to see, power and glory come through vulnerability.
Jesus ate with those on the margins of society, seeking to bring them back into the fold. He was insulted for it. Jesus sought to promote a new way of being and living and so many people said he had a demon. Lots of people didn’t listen to him in the marketplace and ultimately sat, conflicted, not sure which way to turn.
Jesus looked to heaven and gave thanks to his Father for those who did hear his message. As life gets complicated or conflicted, people find it more difficult to respond. But those who are as pure in heart as a mere infant are able to respond with joy to the good news of salvation and see God the Father who is revealed to them through the Son.
It can be tiring to live with contradictions and conflict. It can seem like living on the edge, trying to discern what to do, how to live.
There are great difficulties in deciding how to navigate through given situations. Jesus offers us a solution through this moral and spiritual maze. Interestingly, he doesn’t say that he can make contradiction, complexity, conflict or challenge disappear, but he does promise rest for our souls and refreshment for our hearts. He promises an oasis of calm where we can offload burdens and find a new kind of peace, which can then help us navigate and understand a complex and challenging world. Ultimately, we are to put our lives in his hands with the simple trust of a child.