It might seem odd to think of Jesus changing his mind. But the scriptures reminds us “he grew in wisdom, age and grace.”
It is almost the definition of childhood to outgrow childish ideas. Perhaps our classic experience is the question of Santa Claus. At some point, we let go of this and other magical beliefs of childhood.
I wonder what some of the beliefs were that Jesus had to let go of.
In his adult life, Jesus had regular interactions and conversations with the scribes, Pharisees, and teachers of the law — highly educated men with a vast knowledge of the Jewish faith.
But, there is not a single account in Scripture where a man manages to change Jesus’s mind.
The two people who changed Jesus’s mind were, in fact, both women.
The first was none other than Mary — his own mother.
The story is found in the Gospel of John, where Jesus is attending a wedding reception. It must have been quite an occasion because, at some point, the wine began to run low. At Jewish wedding feasts, which went on for days on end, this would have been a complete embarrassment to the hosts.
Mary brings the dilemma to Jesus and pleads with him to do something about it. Jesus responded by saying: “Why are you telling me this? It is not yet time for me to begin my work.” In other words, “Not now, Mom!”
Yet we know he performed the first of his signs for her
The Canaanite woman
Another woman, a Canannite, comes to begging Jesus to save her demon-possessed daughter. (Matthew 15:21-28)
Keep in mind the Caananties were the equivalents of the modern-day Palestinians who inhabited the land of Israel before the Jews resettled it for themselves. You can imagine the hostility between them at so many levels.
Initially, Jesus rebuffs her: “God sent me only to the lost sheep of Israel.” In other words, Jesus says: “What you’re asking me to do is outside the scope of my mission.” However, the woman persists. She impresses Jesus with her perseverance and faith. Jesus relents, changes his mind, and heals her sick daughter.
The common request
Both women both were asking Jesus to change his mind about something very significant, an aspect of his mission.
Mary was asking him to begin his mission early. The Caananite women was askng him to expand his mission beyond the lost sheep of Israel. Had he come to realize a deeper dimenension of words well known to followers of Sts. Vincent and Louise.
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,*
because he has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives and recovery of sight to the blind,
Had he come to understand the words of Is 43:6 Indeed He says,
‘It is too small a thing that You should be My Servant To raise up the tribes of Jacob, And to restore the preserved ones of Israel; I will also give You as a light to the Gentiles, That You should be My salvation to the ends of the earth.’ ” (https://bible.usccb.org/bible/luke/4?18)
The Great Commission is a term used to describe the final instructions and commissioning that Jesus gave to his disciples before his ascension into heaven.
Do we need to change our minds about who and under what circumstances we reach out to Gentiles of our day?
Clkck below for an early audio version of this Vincentian Mindwalk