When I was away from the Church and not practicing any kind of religion, one of the things that I loved to pontificate on was the fact that so many Christians were holding themselves to the standard set by Jesus. I scoffed that it was impossible, and that Christians should focus on the actuality that Jesus was human and not just God. While I recognized that it was an ideal to strive for, I saw it as just an ideal. As I have come back to the Church, it’s still something that I struggle with in a way. In fact, Jesus is something I struggle with. Okay, I know that sounds weird, and it could be that I have a weird association with Him. I think of Him in a few ways: the goofy high-school counselor who just wants to hug it out; the hippy-dippy goody two-shoes always telling us to love one another; the source of all those obnoxious televangelists who apparently is waiting for me somewhere in the ether, promising me health and happiness and anything my heart desires as long as I donate now. I never had these problems with God, and certainly not with Mary or any single Saint (well, St. Therese a little bit.) Don’t get me wrong, I never questioned the reality of Jesus or what He did, but more the idea of him. I think it’s Jesus’ dual nature that gives me the hang-up. Sure, it’s easy to be a nice person and turn the other cheek when you’re also God and perfected in nature. As mush as I didn’t like people focusing on just His divine nature, I had the hardest time thinking of Him as being human in any way. And so, I just sort of distanced myself from thinking about Him at all.
Lately, though, I have found myself really focusing on a couple of things about Jesus.
I always find myself feeling really bad for Jesus during the Agony of the Garden. It’s so sad to think that He asked His friends to stay awake with Him and they couldn’t even do it. Granted, they probably had no idea what was about to happen, but He did. He needed support and not one person could give that to Him. How many times have you spent a sleepless night, worrying about something you knew was going to happen? And that something is never, ever a brutal death by execution. I think the thing that gets me here is that Jesus shows Himself as a flawed human, even if just for a moment. He actually asks God the Father to take the fate away from Him, if it’s possible. Jesus knew that He was the Son of God. He knew that He was not going to die, and that many of the people who doubted Him would believe. But He was still scared. It seems to me that at that moment, Jesus had a hard time trusting that His Father would provide, would protect. This seems more poignant at Lent, knowing that Jesus was about to go out and die for me, someone who wanted to ignore him.
|totally inappropriate- yet somehow fitting|
This passage is where the Catholic notion of a holy hour comes from. We are asked to spend at least an hour with the Blessed Sacrament—Jesus. I heard something on the radio not too long ago from Fr. Antoine Thomas who teaches children to go to adoration. He told a little girl who was about to make her first Communion that she should spend time in adoration. He said that she should ask her parents to take her because Jesus was lonely. Again, a human emotion for someone who I previously wanted to think of as human, but just couldn’t. It hit me all of a sudden though, when I heard it. I thought about the state of the Faith across the country. I thought about how our Cathedral in
was three quarters empty on a Sunday and I later found out there were only 600
registered families. It struck me that Jesus really is lonely. He knew what He did, we know what He did and yet, so
many of us can’t be bothered to stay with him for an hour once a week. I became
so grateful at that moment for the gift of faith that I have been given, even
if I fight it sometimes and can’t always wrap my mind around it. Denver