Well, I just found that I did not publish this last Thursday as I had thought! bummer! Well, perhaps it will still be an inspiration to some…
As we begin the Sacred Triduum this evening I am bringing you the Formation Sisters reflections on the readings from the 5th Sunday of Lent. Be blessed!
Psalm 51:3-4, 12-15
This week we were all captivated by – as Sr. Mary Veronica eloquently put it – the pathos of the heart of Christ, expressed not only in the Gospel but in all the readings. They all take us deep into the mystery of God’s covenantal love for us, a love which reaches its climactic fulfillment in Jesus Christ, Love Incarnate.
Sr. Mary Andrea highlighted Jeremiah’s narrative of God’s poignant and tender promise of His new covenant, in which He will heal the very roots of our infidelities and make it possible for us to truly be in intimacy with Him. “I will be their God, and they shall be my people…. All, from the least to the greatest shall know me!”
The psalmist fervently prays for Him to accomplish this work: “A clean heart create for me, O God; renew in me a steadfast spirit!” But it is St. John and the author of Hebrews who really paint for us the stunning portrait of Jesus Christ upon the eve of consummating this new covenant.
According to Hebrews, Jesus “offered prayers and supplications with loud cries and tears to the one who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence.” The “loud cries and tears” of the Lord have always captivated Sr. Mary Veronica. How rich is the heart of Christ! The full spectrum of His human virtues and passions includes fervent intercession, profound reverence, unstinting obedience…and heart-wrenching grief and majestic joy.
Sr. Cecilia Maria pointed out that in the original Greek, when Jesus says, “I am troubled now… Father, save me from this hour,” He is actually quoting the Greek text of Psalm 6:4-5: “In utter terror is my soul…Lord, save my life!” What a mystery of suffering! Sr. Rose Marie was similarly intrigued by the seeming contradiction of Jesus’ fear and confidence in the Gospel.
We found an answer to the contradiction in the eternal reality of God’s covenantal love. Anne and Sr. Cecilia Maria focused upon Jesus’ words, “It was for this purpose that I came to this hour…. When I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw all to myself.” Jesus trembles from fear, yes, as the time of His Passion draws nigh, but He trembles also from the strength of His loving longing for union with His beloved people…a union which will finally be accomplished at “this hour.”
Since the dawn of creation, God has yearned to gather His people to Himself, into the embrace of His love. Jesus gave voice to this elsewhere in the Gospels when He cried, “Jerusalem, Jerusalem…how often have I yearned to gather your children as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings…but you would not!” This hour of Jesus Passion will finally accomplish His purpose: upon the Cross, Christ Jesus will gather all of us to Himself.
It is consummated!