Mt 8:18-22 No Reason To Rest
When Jesus saw a crowd around him, he gave orders to cross to the other shore. A scribe approached him and said to him, “Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go.” Jesus answered him, “Foxes have dens and birds of the sky have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to rest his head.”
When I read today’s Gospel passage, I immediately thought of how falsehoods make great resting spots. Sure, I can be, if only for a moment, “whatever I want to be”. I can pretend to be who I am not. I can duck and hide in a lie. I can take cover in an illusion. I can plant the buck on someone else. I can keep the façade alive and well. Why rely on the truth when I can retell a lie? I can continue to use my past as an excuse in order to win the ear or sympathy of the one I wish to keep close to my chest.
“I’m pregnant”. That’s what an obsessed young teenage girl told her boyfriend. It wasn’t true, but that’s what she told him. And for a few months, she took comfort in her lie. She got what she wanted (comfort in power) and she held on to him for as long as she could.
“I have cancer.” That’s what another obsessed lover told their “beloved”. And for weeks the “beloved” felt tormented by his “insensitivity”. It all turned out to be a hoax, but the damage was done. The beloved nearly had a nervous breakdown from all the mind games played.
Foxes have dens, but the Son of Man has nowhere to rest his head. There’s no place to hide in the truth. And in some ways, there’s no resting in the truth. Yes, the truth shall set you free, but it will not bring you rest, not on earth at least. When you expose yourself to reality, you strip yourself of all comfort. You lay yourself bare. You open yourself up to ridicule and to scorn, especially from those who have not yet exposed themselves. Like a desert, the truth will subject you to a scorching hot day and a brutally cold evening.
The Son of man had nowhere to rest his head because he had nothing to hide. I AM who I AM. Here I am, I come to do the Father’s Will. He is all that He claimed to be. No secrets. No hidden agendas. No false pretenses. He lays bare his soul and strips himself of any human assumptions such as history or culture. He speaks to all, regardless of gender. He cures all, regardless of profession of faith. He loves all, regardless of race or nationality. He dies for all: regardless of their worthiness.
The Lord will not lie to save his reputation. He will not lie to save his life, his true identity. He cannot conceal, not even for a moment, his unconditional love for the Father and for all creation. When he reminds those he healed to keep hush his power, they immediately go off and rally the crowds and antagonize the Pharisees. The truth seems to hurt as well as heal!
But given the right circumstances (where two or more are gathered in my name), the truth is as illuminating and as shining as the sun (or the Son) and as refreshing and clean as an evening blue sky.
In my years of as a priest, I have found that the homilies that are most effective (and most appreciated) are the ones that lay bare my soul: the good, the bad and the ugly. I have found that the young men and women that go on retreats and have the opportunity to share their life story (the good, the bad and the ugly of it), are hugged and appreciated the most. I have witnessed, either as a confessor or as a recipient of confession, that the more honest the soul, the greater the grace received.
The Truth is for man. The truth is for us. The truth is very liberating. There is no place to rest for those who trust in the Lord, who trusts in the truth and who trust in God’s love because there is no desire to stop and hide.