25th Friday in Ordinary Time
Haggai 2: 1 – 9; Ps 43; Luke 9: 18 – 22
Jesus is praying in solitude although the disciples are present. After Peter acknowledges Jesus as “The Christ of God”, it appears that this gives Jesus the opportunity to teach about being “The Christ of God” and that means His passion to come: “The Son of Man must suffer greatly and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed and on the third day be raised.” St. Luke says nothing of their response, reaction – surely, it astonished them, it puzzled and even grieved them.
There is another scene in the Gospel that is very similar. Jesus is in a garden with HIs disciples and St. Luke reports, “He withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, then went down on His knees and prayed.” What He predicted earlier and more than once is now about to happen and He suffers so great an anguish that “His sweat became like drops of blood falling to the ground.” (Luke 22: 41ff)
We hear this with our bodily ears and for people of faith this is not enough. St. Benedict in the Rule calls us to a different mode of hearing – to hear with the ears of the heart. The first hearing is kind of automatic but the second is a prayerful listening – a listening that is decisive, a desired receptivity to something not said verbally but present in the words nonetheless and is meant to captivate and so deepen our faith in God.
This prayerful listening – listening with the ears of the heart – means not jumping to conclusions but waiting patiently upon God’s truth however it comes. What is behind these two scenes – of prediction and fulfillment? It is only one thing – the passionate love of God the Father revealed in the life, death and resurrection of His Son – the love that desires our salvation, our eternal life with Him.
God has no other agenda but to love us – you, me, all – to love us into the unending intimacy of the Most Holy Trinity. For this Jesus willingly lays down His life – the passion of the Father is His passion and it costs Him excessively and that is truly an understatement.
With all this is mind: “What return can we make to the Lord for His love?” Rather: “What return will I make, do I make for such love?”