Fifth Sunday of Lent – 29 March 2020
Reflection – [only view of Aidan Troy]
On Wednesday last, with joy, the church celebrated the Annunciation to Mary that Jesus was to be born among us. Never could we thank Mary sufficiently for being ready to answer a request from the ‘God of Surprises’.
Her hesitation brings home to me how human, even though sinless, she truly is. ‘How can this come about?’ she asks. Her question to Gabriel, God’s messenger, mirrors mine in these days – ‘how are we going to get through this?’ Then comes a most wonderful revelation and reminder for us today – ‘nothing is impossible to God’. I cling to this promise for dear life in these days of unprecedented challenges.
Since I can remember, I have believed in Jesus being God. I can remember learning about Jesus from my parents at home. They were not ‘theologians’ in the academic sense, but they were believers who passed on to their children the priceless treasure of faith. They were my first teachers in the ways of faith and by far the best.
They also taught us children that as well as being God, Jesus became man, human like us in all things but sin. But as I moved on from home, I noticed how at times, the humanity of Jesus seemed ‘watered down’ lest it might obscure His divinity; this is poor theology and not great spirituality.
A great help to me in keeping alive my belief in Jesus becoming one of us, is in today’s Gospel, when St John simply says that at the death of his friend Lazarus, ‘Jesus wept’. Lazarus is in the tomb for a fourth day. The sisters Mary and Martha are truly devastated at the loss of their brother.
Jesus comes to them not as superhero but as friend and mourner, moved to the pit of his stomach by this loss and not ashamed to show what this death means to Him. God help bereaved people hearing that the deceased is, ‘in a better place’ or ‘this is God’s will’ – not great spirituality or psychology. Jesus’ tears anytime for me!
Before His own death, Jesus showed the cost of the Cross, ‘Father if you are willing, remove this cup form me; nevertheless not my will but thine be done….He prayed more earnestly and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down upon the ground.’ [Lk 22: 42, 44]
I believe in Jesus human and divine. How often I wished that God had dealt me a different hand in life? How often I begged God not to ask me and He simply said ‘no’. Never in my worst moments did I doubt His grace to sustain me. That is why Mary is a hero in my life, saying ‘Yes’, when she knew this was what God wanted.
I’m convinced that Jesus is truly part of every family and with each person. He doesn’t do ‘guest appearances.’ He doesn’t need to be first accepted and loved by us, He just loves us anyhow and won’t stop. On our side, the only thing that Jesus cannot do is to force our consent. He waits for our love.
If Jesus had not become truly one of us, God would always be beyond our grasp. But He chose to come within our grasp by the Incarnation. In these days when we are apart, I am greatly consoled by knowing that the ‘church is not closed’ (the building is) but we the People of God, the church, are alive and active. Our God reigns and Mary is always our Mother.