Healthy and liberating insecurity

by | Mar 10, 2014 | Formation, Reflections

Vincent EucharistSecond Sunday of Lent (A), March 16, 2014 – Gen 12, 1-4; 2 Tim 1, 8b-10; Mt 17, 1-9

Bear your share of hardship for the gospel (2 Tim 1, 8)

Jesus came from the Father and has come into the world to save us.  We will be saved if we imitate him, leaving the familiar and secure to help others.

It is enough for Peter to feel at home on the mountain of the transfiguration.  He is not about to leave.  He does not care that others are not present.  Never mind that he has heard the Master say he would face his fate in Jerusalem.  Once again the one who means well thinks as men do.

I think the same way frequently.  In order to think as God does, it is advisable that I remember the terrifying cloud and the scolding voice:  “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.”

Not that I find it difficult to believe that Jesus is seated at the right hand of the Father, making intercession for us.  By faith, I see Jesus crowned with glory.  That is why I continue, even in the midst of darkness, to believe, pray, go to Mass, visit churches.  But I admit too that it is not wholly impossible that my worship indicates not so much devotion as escapism or my way of anesthetizing my anxiety that what happens to a homeless person could easily happen to me.

No, it is not easy for me to confront my fears and worries.  This explains in part why it is hard to make a full affirmation of faith, that is to say, to confess that the beloved Son is none other than the Suffering Servant, with whom God is well pleased.  I have no problem with proclaiming that Jesus is in his glory; what is difficult is to become more aware that there he is “because he suffered death.”

So, then, to listen to Jesus presupposes that I am not counted among those who are reproached thus:  “Oh, how foolish and slow of heart you are …!  Was it not necessary that the Messiah should suffer these things and enter into his glory?”  Presupposed, moreover, is that I do not question Jesus’ statement—well grasped by St. Vincent de Paul (Coste XI, 32)—that a homeless person represents the Son of Man.

But to heed him means, above all, to leave behind the known and easy in order to venture into the unknown and hard, to change my thinking and my behavior, to go with him to the outskirts.  This is to put myself at God’s full disposal and to trust Providence completely, as did Patriarchs Abraham and Joseph as well as St. Joseph, St. Vincent and St. Louise de Marillac. They were convinced that the Almighty, quite capable of writing straight with crooked lines, had taken them out of their secure homes to make them instruments of salvation and blessing.  Surely, they too would prefer “a Church which is bruised, hurting and dirty because it has been out on the streets, rather than a Church which is unhealthy from being confined and from clinging to its own security” (Pope Francis).

And we do not always have to go to the outskirt.  Frequently, the Marginalized stands at the door knocking.  If we hear him and open the door, he will enter our house and dine with us, and we with him.

Ross Reyes Dizon