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Three Hard Sayings of the Lord That Offend Against Modern Sensibilities

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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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