I had to smile at the irony: The other day, even as Jesus became present to us in the Eucharist, he was greeted with the unmistakable strains of a blues-rock classic – George Thorogood’s ‘Bad to the Bone.’
You see, a few pews away, someone’s cellphone ringtone had been set off at a most inopportune time – just as our celebrant was elevating the host following the consecration.
Now I’d say there’s a time and place for everything. And I confess that I have long considered George Thorogood’s masterful guitar riffs a guilty pleasure. (Nor apparently am I alone: A YouTube recording of this very tune—a hard-edged staple of the honky-tonk scene—is up to 9.1 million views and counting.)
Still I found it a tad disconcerting to experience this unexpected juxtaposition of the sacred and the profane.
And then came Sunday’s gospel.
I’ve heard it many times before, of course – the familiar recounting of Jesus’ temptations in the desert. This time, though, I was listening with new ears – the ears of one who had so recently heard the Master serenaded by Thorogood.
You know what? It got me thinking – the song kinda fits.
Jesus may not be ‘Bad to the Bone’ in the self-aggrandizing sense asserted by the song’s protagonist. But Jesus IS one self-assured Dude. When the situation requires it, he’s ready to stand toe-to-toe with the Devil himself.
And notice the source of his strength – it comes from his confidence in God…from the intimate relationship he has nurtured with the Father, fed through his familiarity with scripture.
If indeed Jesus is ‘Bad to the Bone,’ it’s because he feels the Holy One’s presence in his very marrow.
That’s something to ponder, I’d say, as we strive to embrace Jesus’ example…and follow the Way he shows us for growing closer to God during this holy season of Lent.