Zechariah 2:5-9, 14-15a
"They did not understand." Luke 9:43
Driving along a road in the National Gettysburg Park you pass a simple sign reading "The Wheatfield." Most people pass without stopping because they don’t understand what happened here July 2, 1863. In this 20 acre wheat field one of the most fiercest battles of the Civil War took place. In two hours the field was taken and retaken six times. 20,000 men were engaged and ended with 6,000 casualties! We don’t appreciate what we don’t understand.
In today’s Gospel we are told three times that the apostles did not comprehend what Jesus was saying when he told them "that the Son of Man was to be handed over to men". They were afraid to know how deeply Jesus was to be involved in our lives! The stark reality of the Crucifix will sober any rational person. When someone loves us this much we can hardly remain indifferent or neutral. The ancient Greek work in the Scriptures for fear is phobos. It means to flee, or to avoid. The awesome act of our Father’s love in the voluntary sufferings of his Son can make us flee from such intensity. It intrudes into our lives so that we find we can no longer live for ourselves but for Christ!
St. Paul of the Cross meditating on the Scriptures that greater love than this no one has than to give his life for us was totally convinced that the Cross central to knowing God. We must never flee from this dominant message of the Gospel in our prayer or ministry. The Holy Spirit must inspire us to keep up the intensity of God’s love in the Crucified!
Fr. Bob Weiss, C.P. preaches Parish Missions and is a member of the Passionist Community in Louisville, Kentucky.