Saturday, April 9, 2011

Daily Lenten inspiration, April 8, 2011 (Friday of the Fourth Week of Lent)

Transcript of homily recorded on Friday, April 8, 2011

By Father Tim McGowan

I was thinking recently about those workers in Japan who are trying to contain the nuclear disaster at the power plant. I'm thinking, what heroic people these are. This goes beyond what anyone would expect of an employee. To work there is certainly risky business, and they're doing heroic things day in day out exposing themselves to harmful levels of radiation, sacrificing themselves for the well being of others. You can't ask a person to do that who doesn't have a heart that is full of a capacity for love. I can't believe that these people aren't there for any other motivation than for the love of their people, for the love of others.

And I was thinking of that because it occurred to me why would Jesus, in the Gospel today, go down to Jerusalem? They wanted to kill him. This was a dangerous, risky business that he would have involved himself in. A risky business that would have involved sacrificing his own life. He was up in the Judean countryside, and when he heard about the feast in Jerusalem, he decided to travel there — not openly, which meant he probably used the back roads; he tried to stay out of pubic view. But when he got there, there he was in the temple area proclaiming God's truth, putting his life at risk. And why would he do that? And the only answer that occurs to me was because his heart had a capacity to love. He loved Jerusalem. Later on in the same Gospel, we'll hear how he wept for Jerusalem and its inhabitants because he longed that Jerusalem would recognize its role as the city of God, of God's purpose and God's presence. But they wouldn't, and so he put his life at risk because of his love, the love that he had in his heart.

Now, it broke his heart that the people would not recognize God's presence in their lives. And our responsorial psalm, we said together was: "The Lord is close to the brokenhearted."

How many of us here know someone who's had a broken heart? ... If we're also honest with ourselves we know that we know people who've had broken hearts because they risked loving. And we know that some of those people are ourselves. Now you and I have had our hearts broken because we've gone out to someone, we've done something that put in a very vulnerable position like the workers at the nuclear power plant, like Jesus entering Jerusalem. Love is a risky business, and we risk breaking and having broken hearts. But this is exactly where God enters our lives. He's close to the brokenhearted. He enters our lives through our brokenness. He enters our lives through our wounds. The opposite would be to be unloving, to not ever take a risk, to not do anything for anyone else, to be nothing but self-serving. And that is a sad place to be.

So, life today presents us with a challenge to take the same kind of risk that Jesus took when he entered Jerusalem. To be willing to love with a capacity that's open to sacrifice, that's open to brokenness. And in that, we will experience the closeness of God.

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