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Sometimes it seems that everybody wants to change our way of thinking. That has probably always been true. But it certainly feels truer now in our polarized times.

Politically people want us to think red or blue! Scientifically, many want us to choose between seeing climate change as a reality or a hoax. Religiously it seems some are not even sure if the Pope is Catholic!

Many are confusedPeople are once again asking “what is truth” but… believe only their version of the truth. Often all this comes to head even in the intimacy of our families.

Does even God want you to change your mind?

You bet!

God even sent Jesus to talk to us about changing our minds.

The prophets

Of course, God sent a lot of other messengers before Jesus! Many we call prophets. They have names like Isaiah, Jeremiah, Hosea, Ezekiel.

These prophets did not foretell the future. They were messengers from God who connected the dots about where lives were headed if people didn’t change their way of thinking.

According to Jesus, the greatest of the prophets was his cousin John the Baptist.

John’s message was direct.  Repent! Change your way of thinking… and acting. But people don’t like to be challenged to change their way of thinking, much less the way they act. So John lost his head.

Jesus’ challenge

Jesus picked up the theme, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”  Repent actually means changing your way of thinking.

But Jesus was no ordinary prophet. He was the Word made flesh…and a master storyteller. People could relate to each of the stories he told. Jesus’ stories made people think!

Still, we see how often they missed the point of the stories… change your way of thinking. 

Just think of his classic story of the Good Samaritan. He challenged the church lawyers of his day… and everyone else. He challenged everyone to change their way of thinking about who their neighbor was and their responsibility to care for the wounded in life.

They were not very happy that he challenged their polarized thinking!

Jesus’ greatest challenge

He did more than challenge our way of thinking!

More than his stories and sermons, he challenged all by how he acted out this radical thinking!

Who would have thought that God would take on human flesh… dramatically show love for even those who put him to death?

He came into our midst when we were so entrenched in our way our thinking that we could not believe him. Yes, they were prepared to follow God … the Almighty, the King, the ruler! .. but not a servant God.

Jesus knew how difficult it would be to change our way of thinking. 

So after his last Supper, he, the Son of God, washed their feet! He acted out service. He said, if I, who you think of as your Lord, washed your feet, wash one another’s feet. Do it in memory of me and the example I have just given you.

Then just to make sure they knew he really meant it, he accepted all the sufferings entailed in his crucifixion. The cross showed there was no limit to how we should love our neighbor.

Paul understood when he wrote of having the same way of thinking like Jesus.

Ever since we have been struggling with this call to change our way of thinking, to think like Jesus who prayed the night before he died that all might be one not just in word but in action.

How much does this change your way of thinking about God and how we should love our brothers and sisters?

Click below for an earlier audio version of this Vincentian Mindwalk

Rethink your way of thinking
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