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Three Hard Sayings of the Lord That Offend Against Modern Sensibilities


The Gospel for today’s Mass features three hard sayings of the Lord. They are difficult for us moderns to hear because they offend against modern sensibilities; we easily taken aback by their abrupt quality. Here are the first two “offensive” sayings:

Do not give what is holy to dogs, (Mt 7:6)

or throw your pearls before swine, lest they trample them underfoot, and turn and tear you to pieces (Mt 7:6).

The modern notion offended against here is this: You’re not supposed to call people ugly names. This idea, though not wrong in itself, has become rather excessively applied in our times. We live in thin-skinned times of fragile egos; people are easily offended. The merest slight is often met with the threat of a lawsuit. Even observations intended to be humorous are labeled hurtful and out-of-line. But horror of horrors, here we have Jesus calling certain (unnamed) people dogs and swine; we demand an explanation for such horrible words coming forth from the sinless Lord Jesus!

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