Jesus is always happy with His Heavenly Father, but there’s a moment in which He is downright exuberant:
At that very moment he rejoiced [ἠγαλλιάσατο = He was overjoyed!] (in) the holy Spirit and said, “I give you praise, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for although you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned you have revealed them to the childlike [νηπίοις = to the infants]. Yes, Father, such has been your gracious will. All things have been handed over to me by my Father. No one knows who the Son is except the Father, and who the Father is except the Son and anyone to whom the Son wishes to reveal him” (Luke 10:21-22).
“Amen, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children [ὡς τὰ παιδία = like children], you will not enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:3).
So, WHAT is it that is revealed? In context of Luke, Jesus is speaking of the destruction, note well, of Sodom, and of the condemnation to hell of Chorazin, Bethsaida and Capernaum, and of the exorcism of Satan wrought by the disciples. All the chaos of hell, THAT is what is revealed to the little ones, and THAT is what Jesus is so exuberant about.
A most sweet email came in the other day about my announcement that I got my gun purchase permit, to which I had exclaimed: “Sweet!” Here’s a snippet:
“Nothing sweet. This makes me sad. Your graphic post the other day imaging you were a security guard lethally protecting a school made me sad too. Security guards do this, priests traditionally do not go around armed and a priest is not a soldier or a police officer and I think in general should eschew thinking about being involved in violent scenarios.”
After all, I’m a priest! WHAT is going on in my head?! Well, let me tell you what is going on in my head – or what I wish more was going on in head – as a soldier of Christ with the One Soldier, Jesus Christ, who is laying down His life for us on the Cross. He said that when He was lifted up in this “violent scenario” He would draw all, the children-students of this our Master, to Himself. We are to see all this from the heights of the Cross amidst the most ferocious battle that will ever be witnessed in heaven, on earth, or under the earth. All of hell is broken out on Calvary. Hell is what He has stepped into, what He is reaching into, whence He grabs us to draw us to Himself right through all that hell. To do what? To have us be in solidarity with Him as He is in solidarity with us, next to Him, on the Cross, seeing what He sees in this “violent scenario,” that is, all the hell and all the sin and all the violence and all the disrespect and all the rape and murder and arson and robbery and lying and… and…. ugghhh!
THIS glory of His love in such circumstances is what is revealed to the littlest ones who have the purity of heart and agility of soul and generosity of spirit to be with Him, heart to Heart, the ol’ cor cum cordis loquitur (heart speaks with Heart). I wish I had more of all that! This is where the priest is daily, at the altar. This is where the faithful are, at the altar. The scourging, the crowning with thorns, the mockery, the sound of iron on iron pounded through hands and feet, the gurgling of blood and water flowing out of that Heart. Not a soldier? Not in the battle? I’m sorry but, I mean, take a long hard look at the header picture of this blog. What do you see? What do you read? This is what I do. This is who I am. We are to be all things to all that some might be saved. Do I understand the security guard in that video who might do as I suggested. Yes, I do. Utterly. And so much more. I understand the terrorist freakoid perp active shooter. Utterly. How’s that? Because, truly, that’s who I am without the grace of Christ (and given the circumstances of life, which I never had up to the present, but that doesn’t make me “better”). None of us is better than anyone. If I am to bring the mercy of Jesus to all I can’t at all pretend to have a heart and soul and mind untouched by original sin and whatever of my own sin, as if I’ve never been forgiven of anything, as if I myself – I myself – hadn’t crucified the Son of the Living God, the Divine Son of the Immaculate Conception, who will come to judge the living and the dead and the world by fire.
And you know what? All those times you hear the great saints say that we will be judged on the charity we have in our hearts… do you know what that means? I mean, do you remember the times Jesus speaks of His judgment: “I never knew you”? That refers to whether or not He has seen us there with Him in solidarity on the Cross in that, you know, “violent scenario.” It is there that we get to know Him. We cannot be there unless we are the littlest of all littlest children.
O felix culpa quae talem et tantum meruit habere redemptorem!
Whew! Forgive my rant!
Oh, I forgot: I still have to talk about why any priest would be a CCW priest. Patience!