Too long for an audio. Just some bullet points.
- The woman at the beginning of the Passion Narrative who anointed Jesus for His burial according to Jesus’ assessment, did just that. She had the purity of heart and agility of soul to see that Jesus was the Messiah, the Suffering Servant, and that anyone speaking the truth with such goodness was a dead man walking, especially in view of His close followers. Looking at them, she could easily see that such as Judas would betray Him, and, in fact, just seconds later Judas would make his way to the chief priests to plot the betrayal and get his thirty pieces of silver. She could easily see that Peter would deny Him, and that the rest of the Apostles would all run away. As Jesus says about this in this Gospel: strike the Shepherd and the sheep will scatter. To get to this point of anointing the “corpse” of Jesus for His burial while He was ever so very alive in front of her, she herself would have had to suffer a great deal while remaining faithful in her trust of the Most High, even the midst of unimaginable betrayal, a soul in whom the Most High rejoices as it is the Most High who has brought her to this. What a great woman of faith!
- If we have a make-pretend-faith, running after a mercy not founded on justice, we immediately become cynics the moment there is adversity, like sickness, death, getting smacked down by others, betrayal, denial, running away. We ask if God knows about pain, being, we then think in our cynicism, that He is just an abstract notion of our own out is the middle of a frozen universe somewhere in outer-space.
- If, instead, we recognize that mercy and justice are one in God and that we see this on the Cross, so that Jesus standing in our place, the innocent for the guilty, means that He has the right in His own justice to have mercy on us, well then, that mercy, instead of being an occasion of bitter cynicism and doubt, that mercy, instead, is majestic, glorious, founded as it is on justice. There He is, God Himself, in our place.
- Then, we, having shown our worst to see if there is forgiveness for us even then, shoving the sword into the side of Jesus with the Roman Soldier, and seeing forgiveness in death, then we say, “Truly this was the Son of God,” who makes all things new, loving us just so much.
It was when I said those last words Jesus making all things new that I choked up altogether, barely getting out that Jesus loves us so very much. I love preaching, love being a priest, because it’s all about Jesus.