Lent for me has always been more powerful and enriching then those “mystery fish sticks” we would eat on Fridays or the suffering for the sake of being true to the Irish “no pain no gain” way of Jesus. The utter radical and soulful good news of Jesus is that God (Life, Wealth, Peace, Joy, Hope, Power) is love; AND Love is God… like it or not. I say “like to or not” because just as in Jesus’ time, today many find this notion of Jesus to be a threat.
With Lent and Holy Week, comes the recollection of why Jesus was born in the first place. Jesus, as the accessible God and human, puts a face and presence on the Almighty, who is Creator and Omnipotent. Today, our face is the face of Christ; God Among us.
Amazingly, for those of us, then and now, who get stuck in the disappointments that come with banking on systems, as well as a religiously vintage presumption of a punishing God this notion was and is really hard to accept! (Reminds me of the Christmas tune: …you better watch out, you better not cry…)
I continue to graciously become more aware of a different persona and interpretation of God while moving away from that juvenile-based concept of a punishing God. “The measure by which we measure, is measured back to you.” (Matthew 7:2). If I don’t live out my own nature, the Plan created by God, that I have learned to have faith in, I cannot possibly experience a full life of happiness and freedom. If my failure to jump through the hoops lands me in Hell…well, that’s not my call. Then I probably can’t gain Heaven either.
My focus has been on the Gospel of Mark, Chapter 5:25, the miracle story of Jesus healing the troubled and physically suffering woman from uncontrollable hemorrhaging. More than the physical miracle, I am moved by the desperation of the minimized woman who would settle with a simple touch of the cloak of Jesus. I am also moved by the understanding of Jesus of her agony. This is a consolation story as well as a miracle story. Who has Jesus used to be that consolation in my life? To which desperate person have I deliberately been the consolation of Jesus?
This Lent, my daily plan was to visit for an hour in silence with Jesus before the Tabernacle. What a luxury! I am always in need of this but rarely do I find the time. However, I also find that I am additionally in daily need to visit with Jesus in the sick; especially those Social Security Insured on disability who are now hospitalized with minimal dignity and minimal medical attention. This is the blessing of Grover in my life. There is simple abundant joy, yet frustration, in all of this. Alas, first there is the cross. But joyfully, the cross ends in the resurrection!
The Gospel of the 5th Sunday in Lent bring us full circle to The Vineyard:
Amen, amen, I say to you,
unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies,
it remains just a grain of wheat;
but if it dies, it produces much fruit.
Jesus prophesied his own death, and his rising which would “produce much fruit.” We are the laborers in His field. We can provide food to the hungry, shelter to the homeless, solace to the sick, and comfort to the sorrowing. For the balance of this Lent, let us walk in the footsteps of Jesus by caring for and consoling those who are put in our life.