Saturday, July 21, 2018
Today, in Mercy, Matthew describes Jesus as He begins to experience a mortal resistance to his message. Jesus slowly realizes that some listening to him are full of hate, fear, and deception. His response reflects the counsel he himself offered earlier in his ministry: offer the evil one no resistance.
Jesus does not respond to evil or sin. He confronts it. He stands firm against it. But Jesus does not stoop to argument, violence, or any other form of engagement which would legitimize evil. He will not step into the trap evil always sets for its prey. When we fight evil with evil’s own weapons, we have already lost.
In today’s Gospel, Jesus simply walks away. We can feel his sadness. His offer of eternal love and grace has fallen on recalcitrant hearts. He sees that these hearts are lost to God.
Instead, Jesus gathers around him the humble and wounded, the ones whose hearts have been softened by suffering and shadows. He gently comforts them, heals them, and leads them to a new Light. They are the bruised reeds which he does not break. They are like smoldering wicks which he tenderly rekindles with his Word.
Let us place our own bruises and flickering lights in his presence today. Let us gather the world’s hurts and darknesses in our prayer. We give ourselves to the gentle love of Jesus.
I remember this morning a beloved prayer of my youth. Some of you may remember too: The Prayer before the Crucifix
Look down upon me, good and gentle Jesus,
While before Thy face I humbly kneel
And with burning soul, pray and beseech Thee,
To fix deep in my heart,
Lively sentiments of faith, hope and charity,
True contrition for my sins
And a firm purpose of amendment.
While I contemplate with great love and tender pity,
Thy five most precious wounds,
Pondering over them within me,
And calling to mind the words that David,
Thy prophet, said of Thee , my Jesus,
“They have pierced My hands and feet,
They have numbered all my bones.”
Music: My Heart Longs for a Touch
(To hear music, tap the center of the picture below.)