33rd Sunday of the Year Reflection
Light and Knowledge
There is a mystic moment that waits for each one of us; finds us; encounters and enfolds us. It is a moment in the cracks between the “now” and “then” that I impose on the memories of my awareness. It is a moment in the shadow between the “I” and the “Not I” that I impose on my identity. This is a moment of unknowing, dying and disintegration.
Mystics and hermits through the ages have held themselves available to this encounter in the silent prayer of solitude and presence.
A memory; a lucid recognition of a procession of people, slowly beginning then ever quicker from those around me to distant family and friends; from the living to those who had died. The great events and people of history and their crumbling monuments slipping through moments of my awareness into the blazing explosion of galaxies and stars. Another moment and then a churning fall through the brilliant light into the abyss of total darkness; no up or down; no this way or that; the emptiness of nowhere and the desolation of unknowing.
When Crisis Hits
Each one of us comes, at some time, to an experience of darkness; an annihilation; the end of our lives, as we had experienced them up to a particular crises. Our world falls apart in those days and there is no safe place to stand; a time of distress when the sun is darkened, the moon loses its brightness, the stars come falling from heaven, and the great powers of heaven are shaken.
Some crisis in our lives; we lose someone we love, someone we depend on, someone dear to us. Perhaps a spouse proves unfaithful, rejects our love; we lose our job, our reputation, our business; perhaps even all that we own.
Somehow, it is in these darkest moments of staring into the abyss that we discover inner resources we didn’t know we had, when friends and family; and sometimes even strangers rally around us.
A time when we perceived only the deepest grey winter, but through the eyes of others we came to see that the twigs of the fig tree have become supple, that there was a possibility of a new summer, a new era and hope coming into being; empathy and compassion are born within us.
It is out of these darkest and loneliest moments, in the midst of all the turmoil, that we receive a great grace; that we understand for the first time the meaning of faith. Out of the annihilation of what we perhaps held to be our very life’s purpose; letting go of our every aspiration; out of that experience of being solitary, that we begin to truly know what it is to Love and to be Loved.
Experience of Love
Sharing in the anguish of the cross; a time when we also cried out in the great silence, my God, my God, why have you forsaken me and we experienced the awe and redeeming power of the Holy One standing with us; speaking to us by name; knowing us as a beloved.
It is out of this experience of love, that all fear is conquered and I am able to let go of my illusion of control and the need to dominate.
It is out of this experience of love, that our hope is born out of knowing with unshakeable confidence that heaven and earth will certainly pass away but the love of God for us will not pass away.
Without this experience of Love, this experience of God, I may have all types of longings and hopes, but ultimately I am without hope.
Without this experience of Love, this experience of God, I may climb all the many ladders of desire and success only to find that ultimately I have been climbing up the wrong wall.
Remember Jesus’ Death For Our Sins
It is in the Eucharist that we come together to celebrate that we journey along the path that Jesus has gone before; holding onto Jesus as the Way. Do this in memory of me; this is the instruction of Jesus to his disciples at that last supper. To keep his memory, not only are we called on to repeat the ritual celebration of that Last Supper; we are invited to do as he has done, to live as he has lived, to love as he has loved. To die so as he did to become food that gives life to others.
The washing of the feet of his apostles, that same holy night, emphasises the same lesson: their lives are meant be at the loving service of others. As we look at Jesus, we come to understand the meaning of our own lives. He is the model, our ideal, humanity and divinity perfectly entwined.
The truth is that only in this mystery of the incarnate Word; the life, death and resurrection of Jesus, does the mystery of our own destiny and hope take on reality.