March 29, 2009

Loud Cries and Tears

In today's second reading (Heb 5:7-9), we hear that Jesus "offered prayers and supplications with loud cries and tears". St. Thomas Aquinas suggested that Jesus probably wept, also, during His Passion, just as He did at the tomb of Lazarus. And why not? Jesus was fully human, as well as fully God.

Christ didn't stride to Calvary like Superman, bullets bouncing off his chest, unphased by anything. He suffered. He stumbled. And He must have cried. Wouldn't you?

We call ourselves Christians, taking Christ as our model. Christ suffered on the path to new life, and our path will include suffering. It must, because you can't reform something until you have softened it up. Clay must be worked and gold melted before it can be made into something new.

Jesus Himself "learned obedience from what He suffered", as Paul tells us. If we are to truly love and obey God, we must do it when it hurts. Obedience to God is easy when our plan happens to coincide with God's, but that is not really obedience. It's coincidence. Our Lenten question, as we take our last steps to this Easter, is whether we can obey when it's hard, as Christ did.

Aquinas, St. Thomas. Commentary by St. Thoms Aquinas on the Epistle to the Hebrews. Tr. Fabian Larcher O.P. Aquinas Center for Theological Renewal, Ave Maria University. http://www.aquinas.avemaria.edu/Aquinas-Hebrews.pdf (accessed March 15, 2009).

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