Life is complicated. It often confounds our efforts to respond to the multiple concerns and questions of the moment.
The chief priests and Pharisees in today’s Gospel are frantic to “solve the problem” of Jesus, imagining all manner of terrible outcomes, their fear blinding them to life-giving alternatives. But this is not a lesson in problem solving. Instead, it offers an invitation to deep integrity, to a wisdom that often eludes us.
In the midst of complexity, how do we know which choice to make? How can we not become paralyzed by the array of “possibilities,” many of them not in our control? The Gospel says that Jesus went apart for a while, spending time in the desert region with his disciples. In similar moments of calm and quiet, we see that integrity simply asks that we be true to ourselves, to our deepest values and sense of call. It invites us to recognize ourselves as loved and to share a responsibility for all members of the family of humanity. And it invites us to act from this truth. Wisdom, integrity’s companion, enables us to see a broader slice of life and to acknowledge that integrity has its gifts and consequences.
While the Gospel scene concludes with questions, we already know their answers. Jesus did go to celebrate the feast of Passover. He entered Jerusalem and taught within the temple area. He spoke about a seed falling into the ground producing much fruit; he taught about resurrection and life. And then with integrity, Jesus embraced and embodied the words he taught.
May our own answers be as clear.