Thursday of the Thirtieth Week in Ordinary Time
October 31, 2019
Today, in Mercy, Paul exults in God’s love and Jesus suffers the full burden of his impending passion. And the two are tied tightly together.
Let me tell you a story that symbolizes that tight knot.
It was in the late 1960s. A group of us had traveled to Atlantic City for the National Catholic Education Convention. Weather forecasting was not so advanced in those days, or at least, we were not so attuned to it. We went to our various sessions early one morning, only to come out of them a few hours later into a hurricane!
I remember walking, obliviously, up to the boardwalk, on my way to the next session in another hotel. The wind became so heavy that I was blown, motionless, against the boardwalk railing. A plexiglass window pane blew by me, cutting me just below the eye. For a short while, that seemed very long, I feared for my life. A strong, young man actually pulled me into a nearby lobby where I tried to calm my fears.
But the next morning, there was a beautiful rainbow and a brilliant, calm sky. I walked back to the bay to survey the previous day’s damage. It was significant. But one image remains in my mind these fifty years later: the front quarter of a battered boat still attached to a half-sunken dock by a thick, sodden rope that wouldn’t let go in the storm.
I think that, in today’s Gospel, Jesus might have felt a little bit like that boat. He has been battered by the resistance of his enemies. He knows it is an ill wind for his message.
you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you,
how many times I yearned to gather your children together
as a hen gathers her brood under her wings,
but you were unwilling!
Still, like that strong, unrelenting rope, he is held sure by the love of God:
But I tell you, you will not see me until the time comes when you say,
“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.”
Paul, through his baptism, inherited that faith, hope and love purchased for us all by the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Christ.
Whenever a storm rises up around your soul, whether expected or not, remember that knot which ties you to the steady and enduring love of God:
No, in all these things we conquer overwhelmingly
through him who loved us.
For I am convinced that neither death, nor life,
nor angels, nor principalities,
nor present things, nor future things,
nor any other creature will be able to separate us
from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Music: Nothing Can Separate Us – First Call (Lyrics below)