This weekend our readings return to Ordinary Time as it is the 14th Sunday in Ordinary Time. The readings can be found here.
The passage above from Matthew has been a source of great consolation for me in recent years. My “reconversion” has involved a deep personal transformation spiritually and psychologically so that my old ways of living: focused on myself, getting ahead in my career and financial security have been transformed in a manner of living in Christ and in relationship with family and friends. I still have a long way to go but I am experience the shedding of my old skin and being drawn into a deeper union with Christ. There are times when I struggle with the demands that comes with this but the passage from Matthew helps put things in perspective.
This week’s reflection comes from Living Space and the Irish Jesuits. You can read the entire reflection here but set forth below is an extended excerpt:
“Whatever demands Jesus may make on our following of him, he wants to be at all times truly a source of comfort, of consolation and of forgiveness and reconciliation. Whatever demands life may be making on us, he is there too to be called on. When we are in difficulties and pain, we can ask him to take them away. He may not always do so but we can expect him to restore our peace. For we need to remember that Jesus is not to be seen as an escape from our problems. Sometimes he will give us peace not from our pain but within our pain. There can be the danger that we expect Jesus or his Mother or some other saint or the Church to be there to wave a magic wand that wipes away all our problems, all difficulties, all obstacles.
Jesus’ own life is an excellent example. In the garden of Gethsemane, faced with imminent arrest, torture and execution, he did not want to have to go through it. This is a perfectly normal human reaction to the threat of death. Anything else would be very strange (yet one sometimes hears people speak as if Jesus actually wanted to go through all those terrible experiences).
Jesus begged his Father to spare him going through this appalling ordeal. “Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me,” he prayed but then, at the end of his prayer, said: “Nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.” (Matthew 26:39) The Father was silent and his will was clear. Jesus should face what is coming. And, when sometime later, Jesus rises from his prayer, he is a very different person. From that moment on and for the rest of his Passion experience he reveals nothing but quiet dignity and strength in the face of all kinds of abuse and humiliations.
He is full of an inner peace, which had come once he had said that total ‘Yes’ to his Father. His prayer in the garden had been answered, although not in the way he originally requested.”