Saturday, July 07, 2018

The Brokenness of Jesus

We hear it at every Mass

He broke it and gave it to them, saying, "Take this, all of you, and eat of it, for this is my body..."

What struck me today in a fresh and new way was this reality that Jesus intentionally gave his disciples that which He had broken. And what He had broken, sacramentally, was Himself.

He wanted the bread into which He would speak Himself to be broken.

He later became broken on the cross because He wanted to be broken on the cross. Or, rather, he became broken as an act of love. He didn't desire brokenness, He desired to act in love.

I am broken because of sin. I am broken because of my own sin and because I was born into a sinful world with sinful forebears and sin-in-action and sin-in-residence. Somehow it is part of this world.

He is broken not because of sin. He was born through the new order of grace, through her who was herself immaculately conceived.

I don't understand all that. But I know it means that when we are grafted into Him, we receive the capacity to be healed of sin and for it to dry up, that sin-in-action. Sin-in-residence loses its power.

But we remain broken, so that we can be like He became, for the salvation of the world. We remain broken so that we grow love.

I have thought that my brokenness meant that I was still so far away from God, from goodness, from change, from grace. I thought my brokenness meant disqualification for being with God. I thought it meant being not as valuable as I would be if I were not broken. Apparently I also thought it was something one could overcome, now, in this life.

But what struck me today was that Jesus broke the bread.

It was no act of malice. It was no act of blame. He saw us broken, and became like us, so that we could become like Him. Accepting the broken piece is that turning point in receiving transformation and transmitting it.

When I can accept the reality that I am broken at the same time that I receive this tremendous outpouring of love and grace and transformation, a corner has been turned. Ironically, it is in accepting utter weakness and helplessness in the presence of Love that we become agents of healing. We become one with Jesus in His self-offering, in His bread, in His body.

There's no earning of a better condition, and there's no striving to fix myself.

There is a two-way total self-gift.

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