In Passionist chapels, you will see Christ on the Cross with his eyes open. There is no piercing in his side. He is looking out on the world. He looked out on the world on September 11th, 2001, and we know what he saw. This is His Passion as He looks out on a broken world. Broken is traumatic and paralyzing.
“9/11” was a continuation of the atrocities among innocent families caught in the middle of the cauldron of war. September 11th was an orchestrated attack of retaliation that launched another cycle of the fruitlessness of war throughout the region.
This is Our Lord’s Passion, witnessing the destruction and disregard for God’s Creation – human and natural. The Love of God responds with the mercy of the Resurrection, that which is embedded within us in our Oneness with Christ through our baptism.
Can you put yourselves into the persons of the disciples as Jesus asks them if they know who He is? Jesus would be the Suffering Servant for the world. He would undergo great suffering, rejection and death, and after three days rise through the power of the resurrection.
The disciples need to set their minds on God’s merciful and loving ways of seeing and doing things to counter the evil causing such trauma.
Jesus does not pretend to be “saving us” by using divine power to change whatever it is in society, whatever it is in other people’s behavior that is threatening us. Jesus tells us that the challenge in our world is to do one thing – we do not love one another.
If we accept to learn from him how to love as the solution, all other problems will find solutions.
Love must be our guiding principle. Selfishness destroys – love gives life. In the words of W.H. Auden, American poet, “we must love one another or die.”
The only power Jesus promises to use for us is the power that enables us to love as He loves.
This is the only power that saves….
I ask you before Mass is over today, to make a commitment to work deliberately on one habit, just one habit to love someone in a deliberate manner.
Make that the habit during your week and then when you return next week, put your work of love during the past week into the bread and wine and let God’s grace renew that habit to love.
Fr. Alex Steinmiller, C.P., is a member of the Passionist Community in Detroit, Michigan.