Friday, November 20, 2009

The Key

Jesus wept over Jerusalem as he drew near. His words on that occasion are still echoing through the corridors of time. “If you only knew what makes for peace.”[1]

During the life of Christ on earth, the religious, political, and economic powers at hand failed to recognize the time of their visitation. The general populace failed in this recognition as well. Their focus was on matters other than the Ideal that epitomized the ideals of faith, hope, and charity.

On that last fateful day, Christ was abandoned by all but his mother and a deeply devoted pitiful few. Anger and rejection gripped the masses of folk that Christ had miraculously healed and fed. The one thought to be their liberator had turned out to be nothing more than a docile lamb. Fear and confusion filled the hearts and minds of his carefully chosen inner circle of disciples driving them into hiding behind closed doors. Peter, the one Christ called Rock and placed over His Church, picked up his nets and went fishing.

Today’s Gospel causes me to pause and wonder.

Has anything really changed over the ages?

Is there any practicality in thinking that lasting and meaningful peace is possible without the Prince of Peace who infuses measures of himself into the lives of believers through the holy virtues of faith, hope, and charity?

There is no way to count the lives that have been changed through the Gospel over the Christian ages. There have been multitudes of life-changes in this regard and these changes continue to occur here and there where souls hungry for the truth accept and receive the living truth contained in the Scriptures. Despite all the diversity of dogma and doctrinal opinions, Christ continues to influence and change individual lives.

What of the second question?

I hardly think that it is and it is not that we don’t have the opportunity and means for it. Christ’s words still echo, calling out to ears that refuse to hear. Christ still offers his image to eyes that refuse to see. “If you only knew.”

It is here, in a world torn by conflict and strife, in a world ripe with injustice and inequality, in a world filled with the antithetical actions that work in opposition against the divine activity of God that I find myself laboring.[2] And I must confess that, more times than not, I perceive this laboring as swimming against an extreme outgoing tide that seeks to drown me in its dark depths – against a secular world that is diabolically opposed to Christ, against my own fallible and susceptible self.

Without the Death of the Victim, a Death that overcame all death, there would be no possibility of salvation for humanity. Christ’s foreknowledge of his suffering and death, the free offering of himself as the Victim, and the presentation of himself as the Model for all victims in all ages[3], something implicitly contained in Benedict’s ideal of conversatio morum[4], form a life-image that is both beautiful but difficult to personally realize.

It is, however, in the personal commitment to self-death and in the personal realization of this life-image that faith, hope, and charity are infused and find their greatest fulfillment.

[1] Luke 19:41-44
[2] RB Prologue 14-17
[3] Philippians 2:1-8
[4] RB 58:17