Reflection by Sr. Charlotte White, SCL
Spiritual Moderator, Ladies of Charity, Metropolitan Kansas City
In today’s readings we hear the plaintive cries of our human family: Make us whole again. Give again your covenant, which will not be like the covenant that we broke. Blot out our sins. Wash us and cleanse us. Restore to us the joy of your salvation.
The readings from Hebrews and John continue this cry – but from the mouth of Jesus! Jesus “offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to the one who was able to save him from death.” In the gospel you can hear Jesus struggling with the ending of his work. He’s astute; he can read the political winds and knows his days are numbered. He has been sent to bring the reign of God and has so little to show for it. Even his disciples haven’t got it yet; how will the work carry on?
Jesus wrestles with the meaning of his coming death: “Unless the grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies it remains just a grain of wheat.” Finally he cries, “I am troubled now. Yet what should I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? But it was for this purpose that I came to this hour.” I have been faithful to the work for which you sent me. For this I will face execution. “Father, glorify your name.” Make some good come out of this. I have done what I can.
Jesus receives his answer from the Father: “I have glorified it.” Look back. Remember how I have been with you. Recall all I have done for my people. “And I will glorify it again” through what is to come.
Now Jesus can proclaim with resolve: “When I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw everyone to myself.” God will see to the fulfillment of this work.
How often our hopes die, our plans fail, or we face personal deaths both large and small. Indeed, it seems that this is the only way we can “produce much fruit.” We don’t have to like the dying; Jesus didn’t. But, for our neighbor, we continue our efforts – and trust the God of Easter see to the outcome.
I beg Our Lord, Monsieur, that we may be able to die to ourselves in order to rise with Him, that he may be the joy of your heart, the end and soul of your actions, and your glory in heaven. This will come to pass if, from now on, we humble ourselves as He humbled Himself, if we renounce our own satisfaction to follow Him by carrying our little crosses, and if we give our lives willingly, as He gave His, for our neighbor whom He loves so much and whom He wants us to love as ourselves.
Vincent. To A Priest of the Mission, In Saintes, 27 March, 1650. Emphasis added.
You have been called to be a Lady of Charity. Consider this vocation; does it urge you to let go of anything for our neighbor whom He loves so much and whom He wants us to love as ourselves?