Wednesday, April 4, 2012

“God had one son on earth without sin, but never one without suffering.”

As iron is fashioned by fire and on the anvil, so in the fire of suffering and under the weight of trials, our souls receive that form which our Lord desires them to have.--St. Madeline Sophie Barat

Psalm 69:8-10, 21-22, 31 and 33-34
R. (14c) Lord, in your great love, answer me.
For your sake I bear insult,
and shame covers my face.
I have become an outcast to my brothers,
a stranger to my mother's sons,
because zeal for your house consumes me,
and the insults of those who blaspheme you fall upon me.
R. Lord, in your great love, answer me.
Insult has broken my heart, and I am weak,
I looked for sympathy, but there was none;
for consolers, not one could I find.
Rather they put gall in my food,
and in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink.
R. Lord, in your great love, answer me.
I will praise the name of God in song,
and I will glorify him with thanksgiving:
"See, you lowly ones, and be glad;
you who seek God, may your hearts revive!
For the LORD hears the poor,
and his own who are in bonds he spurns not."
R. Lord, in your great love, answer me

Jesus is the suffering servant and he remains unwavering in his faith and obedient to all of his oppressors. We are reminded that God will always be there for us, even when we are tortured as Jesus was for the sake of justice and righteousness. Although humans can abandon God and deny his friendship in love for us, God never abandons us.

The Psalm today reiterates the theme that those on earth scorn one another and may not console each other in times of need, God, with his limitless love for us all, will always help those in need and will never forsake us.

Betrayal starts with the little things. A little drop of your guard, taking your eyes off Christ (e.g. Mt 14:30), accompanied by a lack of repentance, and soon we break faith with Jesus and his Church. This is how Judas, who literally followed Jesus for three years, started on his path to becoming a spy and a betrayer. Judas was trusted to be the treasurer of the apostles, but started helping himself to the money (Jn 12:6) and did not repent.

If you can't be trusted in little things, you can't be trusted in greater things (see Lk 16:10), such as being faithful to Christ and his Truth taught by His Church no matter what or who stands against it. After failing enough little tests, Judas soon regarded Jesus as a "little thing." Amazingly, Judas sold the Son of God for the pittance of a month's pay (Mt 26:15), thirty pieces of silver.

There's a little Judas in each of us. We all have the potential to use the benefits of discipleship for selfish purposes. If we start down that path, we begin changing from a disciple to a "spy" (see Gal 2:4). Then it's only a "little" step to the act of betraying the son of man who came to redeem the world.

"Fix your eyes on Jesus" (Heb 3:1).

Holy Week is a week of opportunity for those who listen, or a week of tragedy for those who do not. "Let everyone who has ears attend to what he has heard" (Lk 8:8). "Let him who has ears heed the Spirit's word" (Rv 2:7).

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