The loss of personality confounds our imitation of Christ. What happens is, our particular brand of church seizes upon one or two of his virtues as the essence of Christ for us to follow. Justice. Mercy. Righteousness. Whatever. You cannot live a life on one quality any more than you can speak intelligently using one word. Meanwhile, we continue to sound on about the love and compassion of Jesus, like the village idiot banging one note on a piano. After a while the world turns away. Can you blame them? Alas—if only Jesus’ followers shared his personality. That one shift alone would correct so many of the ridiculous and horrifying things that pass for popular Christianity.
What is missing in our Gospel reading—and in our attempts to “read” what Jesus is saying and doing in our own lives right now, this week—is his personality, undraped by religion.