A Penitent Blogger

Mindful of my imperfections, seeking to know Truth more deeply and to live Love more fully.

Quid sum miser tunc dicturus? Quem patronum rogaturus? Cum vix iustus sit securus?
Recordare, Iesu pie, Quod sum causa tuae viae: Ne me perdas illa die...

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Time dragging painfully

There are many, many important things in today’s Gospel, some more important than others, but there is one thing that almost everyone notices, sometimes painfully:

It is very... very... very long.

Most of us readily understand why it is so long and how foolish it would be for us to complain, for the Gospel today (Mt. 26:14-27:66) is Saint Matthew’s account of the Passion and Death of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Yet that experience of discomfort, however slight it may be in comparison, gives us a hint of a particular aspect of our Lord’s suffering, that of time dragging painfully.

Many of us saw the Passion of the Christ and were emotionally devastated by the graphic depiction of our Lord’s torture that went on and on and on – and then they turned him over and scourged him on his other side.

But that was nothing.

Our Lord would go on to hang on the cross for hours, fighting suffocation and struggling against the nails driven through his flesh into the wood.

For hours.

Time dragging painfully.

We today live in a culture that fears pain: we fill up our medicine cabinets with over-the-counter pain relievers and sleeping aids. Some people become addicted to drugs, prescription or otherwise.

We also live in a world that fears time: we multi-task, we fill our lives with distractions, and we loose patience or interest quickly.

Our Lord’s reproach to his Apostles strikes at us.

"So you could not keep watch with me for one hour?”

We as Christians cannot be afraid of suffering, even the suffering of time dragging painfully. We cannot let fear of suffering cause us to numb ourselves senseless or to walk away from doing what is right, for we are Christians: disciples and imitators of Jesus Christ.

We do not seek suffering for the fun of it – we are not masochists – but doing the right thing in this broken world inevitably involves suffering and we must never shrink from doing what is right.

We need to ask ourselves, what are we not doing because we fear time dragging painfully? Making time for personal prayer? Arranging real quality time with family members? Visiting lonely relatives who cannot travel? Volunteering for church organizations and to help the poor?

We must not let the distractions of our culture get in the way of doing the right things we should be doing, even at the cost of time dragging painfully. We must do them because these things are right and because we are followers of Christ: the suffering servant, our Savior and Lord.