|Wisdom 2:1, 12-22
Psalms 34:17-18, 19-20, 21, 23
John 7:1-2, 10, 25-30
Say, before you read this reflection, I'd like you to go back to read that first reading again. Really. Humor me. I'll wait.
What stands out for you? What do you notice by going back to it?
On Good Friday most years, I recall this dream, or daydream, I had when I was in early grade school. I was, maybe, second grade, maybe fourth grade. I'm sure the dream was in response to the vivid imagery of Christ's suffering portrayed on Good Friday or, more frequently, in the Stations of the Cross.
I had some sort of small airplane that was like a time machine. I went back in time to Jerusalem and flew around Golgotha, scattering Jesus' enemies. I swooped down and somehow quickly pulled him off the cross so he wouldn't have to suffer. I was a hero and Jesus was saved. What more could a boy ask?
Many years later, many years, I have come this far in understanding that dream. First off, I didn't want Jesus to suffer. Beyond that, I didn't want to suffer - and his suffering was like a mirror to my own, even as a little chucker.
But, now I see two other things. I didn't - and still don't - want to see myself as one who causes others to suffer. A quick story: I studied theology at the Jesuit School in Berkeley, California. A bunch of us used to play basketball often enough over at this grade school playground. One of the guys who played ball, whose name will remain unmentioned for obvious reasons, played real tough. He was built like a five foot, six inch, 235 pound bowling ball and loved to drive the lane. He left bodies strewn in his wake. He never believed it when guys cried, "Foul!" "I didn't touch anyone." But the day he drove the lane, kept on going, and smacked the pole of the basket so hard that he left it shaking, and then said he didn't feel anything! That was the day I had a revelation.
Maybe I smack others like that, leave them shaking, vibrating, almost humming, and don't notice it. Now this is usually not my conscious intention. When I remember "Doctor C" and his basketball wizardry, I wonder whether I smack into others, leaving them shaking in a way that I neither 'intend' or consciously avert to.
Looking at the first reading today puts me in mind of this. Maybe I don't want to see my complicity in Christ's suffering, much less in some of the suffering of the world. "I'm not like that." "I can't be like that; I'm a nice guy." "It's those other bad people who do things like that, not me."
But, there's also one more 'dangerous place' to be. Maybe I
don't want to be loved as one who causes suffering, as a perpetrator.
"How could anyone love me if I'm like this?" Maybe this is the 'threat'
of being a loved sinner. You think?
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