Elephant in a Mouse’s Swimsuit

It’s easier for an elephant to fit into a mouse’s swimsuit, a Benedictine abbot once explained, than it is for God to fit into our ideas about him. This is an intentionally funny observation, but it’s certainly true, especially in light of today’s gospel.

The people of Jerusalem thought that they has Jesus all figured out. They were convinced that he wasn’t the Christ, because they were sure they knew where he came from! But Jesus simply shook his head and told them otherwise.

Jesus sometimes has to do the same thing with us. We create idols- caricatures of Jesus- and he has to come along and smash them. Usually, like the mouse’s swimsuit, our image of Jesus is just too small. We tend to emphasize one aspect of his person and minimize the others. For instance, we might count upon his mercy, but forget about his justice. We focus on his power, but overlook his humility. We highlight his humanity, but neglect his divinity. And vice versa.

However, whenever we think we have him in a nutshell, the real Jesus eludes us, just as he slipped away from the angry Jerusalem mob. He knows that we’re always tempted to refashion him in our own image. Thankfully, he never stops trying to re-create us in his.

Readings for today’s Mass: http://www.usccb.org/nab/040811.shtml

Photo credit: Averain via Creative Commons