Friday, April 14, 2017

His Hour

At the Holy Thursday Mass, I had one of those moments where the Scriptures exploded in my head in multiple directions at once.

It was that first line of the gospel reading: Before the feast of Passover, Jesus knew that his hour had come to pass from this world to the Father.   

Just a couple of weeks ago at the Sonshine Bible Club I had been teaching my kids about the miracle at the wedding feast of Cana, where Jesus tells his mother "My hour is not yet come." One of the things I have been impressing on these kids every week with every gospel story is that Jesus had his mind constantly set on fulfilling his Father's will that he lay down his life for us. His love focused him on the mission for which he was born, which was to be the atoning sacrifice for our salvation.

So, when I heard these, where Jesus knew that finally, his hour had come, and knowing all that his Passion would entail, my mind shot back again to that moment at the wedding feast. I know that account is rich with layers of spiritual meaning, especially because of how the wedding feast prefigures the marriage supper of the Lamb which Jesus would bring about when his hour did finally come. But what struck me at that moment was on a much more human level. And also, it was born of a time of prayer several years ago where I felt greatly consoled by the Blessed Virgin in the understanding of her grief when Jesus left her in Nazareth to head out into his ministry. This moment of the wedding feast happened probably very shortly afterwards, a brief hiatus in their separation. 

What struck me Thursday night was how it must have affected the human heart of Jesus, also, not only to leave his mother in Nazareth, but to cast his gaze ahead to the day when his hour would come, and he would suffer this kind of separation from her, and the pain of her pain. I think of Jesus in Gethsemane. He wanted his disciples to stay awake and pray. We know he was in anguish. We should not dismiss the pain his humanity endured in being left alone by everyone he loved in that moment -- including his mother. 

Why is it that we go through these moments on earth with no sense of consolation at all, no experience or feeling of love? God allows these moments; at some point, it is his way. In them, we face our misery, brokenness, and need, and we know that without the Father, we are nothing. So Jesus, too, reveals himself to us in this very place. 

In fact, Jesus calls us to himself in this desolate place, and bids us have the courage to meet him there, and love him there, and to know that even there in that place of immense human suffering, he is filled with nothing but love and longing for us.

And because love calls forth love, it can be very disturbing to hear that call unless you are prepared to also lay down all consolation, and the experience of the love of your closest ones, and embrace the desolation that is his in his moment of determination to love us to the end.


bill bannon said...

A minor lonely Catholic scholar, Manuel Miguens OFM, solved the mystery of Christ's apparent rudeness to Mary at Cana and no one noticed in the mega space of Catholicism. And I, a lonely seascape artist, added a critical piece to his thesis from a good memory of the OT and no one also noticed. Hour at Cana means time of his arrest and does not mean...hour to begin miracles.. Christ was not telling Mary it was too early to do miracles...He was telling her not to worry...that doing a miracle would not get him arrested and killed this quickly. When Mary informed Christ of the wine shortage, Christ literally said..." what to me and to thee, woman, my hour has not yet come." ( My hour to be arrested has not come...don't worry about causing me to do a miracle). Christ did not say what is written in 97% of English translations...which are not literal but are sense for sense translating.
Every one of them is misleading and rude because they are based on two Fathers, Augustine and Chrysostom, taking Christ's answer negatively....and taking " hour" as hour to do a miracle too early.
Christ actually, my memory here, was taking Mary to 2 Kings to an incident wherein Eliseus used that idiom..." what to me and to thee". ...right prior to Eliseus doing a miracle involving water that looked red to the enemy from a distance. Christ was telling Mary that He was about to make water into redness like Eliseus ( the idiom " what to me and thee" is rare in scripture) did and He must have talked to Mary about the Eliseus passage perhaps jst days prior.
Christ already went public by bringing the first disciples to the wedding. When Mary saw them with Christ, she grew fearful that it meant He would soon be arrested...unlike us, she didn't know how fast the arrest and passion would follow going public.. Ergo..Mary walks toward Christ with the wine problem but with fear in her face and in her voice...and Christ sees that fear as she mentions the wine shortage and He assures her with Eliseus' words..." What to me and to thee, woman, my hour ( to suffer) has not yet come.". Mary like me and Manuel Miguens hears a clear yes and instructs the servants to do whatever Christ instructs. Augustine missed it...thought Christ was rebuking her...and millions of his followers then got stuck with bad English translations of what Christ said....including the NAB.

bill bannon said...

From the official Catholic Bible"..the New Vulgate at the Vatican site. John 2:4...." Et dicit ei Iesus: “ Quid mihi et tibi, mulier? Nondum venit hora mea ”...literally translated word by word...And said to her Jesus: What to me and to you, woman? Not yet comes hour mine".