Wednesday 17 February 2016

At the heart of sorrow, a gap au cœur de la douleur, une brèche

At the heart of sorrow, a gap

We may wonder what kind of drama went on in the heart of the first crucified criminal with Jesus, who harasses him by saying ’ Save yourself, you who saved so many others!’(Lk.24-35) Strangely enough the crowd takes on the same tone of mockery. It is the expression of humanity going through loss.

Loss of freedom : ’Before the Roman domination we were free.’ Loss of a self image :’Before the crucifixion’, the bandit could exist in vengeance, resentment of evil that was done to him.

To live from this loss and lack is a miserable way to live. At Calvary, the gathering together of people is done in this closing in on oneself ’He saved others, let him save himself and then we’ll believe in him.’ This closing in has the principle that we can save ourselves.

Jesus manifests how we aren’t saved by ourselves. He reveals how we are saved by Another. He suffers from the closing in on itself of humanity. ’My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?’( Mt.27.46) Jesus presents Himself to the Father with humanity bought back on the Cross. In the holy Spirit he receives the necessary help to as to save us once more. Through Him, the ’Crucified and Glorified’, the Holy Spirit is given to us and the Father is glorified. ’To all those who received him, he gave the power to become children of God.’ With open arms, His open Heart offers forgiveness that will make him reborn. Jesus can say : ’Father, forgive them, they don’t know hat they are doing.’ (Lk.24.34)

The gift of God, Jesu come in flesh, and the inadmissible suffering is lived simultaneously on Calvary in a surprising way in his person. From now on their is a way out of this closing in on oneself. At the heart of this sorrow : a gap. ’Someone’, he didn’t have a name, he was called the good thief and he heard this cry of distress and anguish. He had gone into this absurd suffering. This is where he encountered Jesus who in this very place offers him a new freedom. The good thief knew how to get hold of it, finding a new being again, he calls Jesus by his name : ’Jesus, remember me when you are in my Kingdom.’ (Lk.23.41) He, whose intolerable suffering had turned him in on himself received the possibility to be turned to another ’ He hasn’t done anything wrong.’ Whereas he was undergoing crucifixion like him. This is how a transformation came about.

We can consider the mysterious community of suffering on Golgotha. After Jesus’ accusers had gone away a community of compassion remains. We can contemplate Jesus on Cross, his welcome of the Father’s will in the Holy Spirit. Through His ’only Son’ he saves humanity from sin. We look to Mary Jesus’ mother at the foot of the Cross. Her opening to the unthinkable crucifixion of her Son puts her in a surprising place that goes ’beyond’ Faith. The presence of the ’holy ’ women and of the Apostle John gives an ultimate witness that must have questioned the good thief. He could accept everything he had lost and in this way offer up his poor life to Jesus.

In Mary’s ’acceptance’, he could welcome everything he had lost. In Jesus he discovered what could make him live : ’remember me’. It is this new community, suffering with him, that permits him ’to come to the surface again’ and to find in him again a desire to live after all. Jesus’ Word comes and confirms it : ’Today you will be with me in paradise.’ So he can suffer with Jesus. This suffering doesn’t have the final word, nor even does imminent death. Where Jesus is, there he will be, in Life. ’Behold your son,’ Jesus will say to Mary speaking to her about John. This ’Behold your son’ (Jn.19.26) is also received by the good thief. So close to death, the experience shows that a human person is conscious about how his life ’has unfolded.’ Our origin is always in relationship with our mother, this woman, our mummy, has been for each one of us the ’milieu’ that bore us in the world.

By bearing Jesus, Mary bore all those whom Jesus saves in his mystery. That is, the whole of humanity. The acceptance Mary had at the Cross was necessary for the good thief when Jesus had already died. Atrocious sufferings were waiting for him again. Mary ’Jesus’ mother’ was there. John, ’the priest’, had become his brother, he suffered with him. He wasn’t alone. A new community had been born at the foot of the Cross. Another life was stated with and for all the suffering of the world. Mary, the woman of sorrows was there, ever hidden in the hollow of the Rock, that is Jesus’ wound, the Wound of God before all the misery of humanity. If we believe in the Words of Jesus : ’Today you will be with me’, we believe in the path this man had had. Do we not need to comeback to a path of hope for the good thief? For this first man condemned with Jesus, the unbearable suffering is awoken : ’Save yourself and us with you.’ It’s a matter of each one for himself, in his solitude and closing in on himself. If the other person doesn’t ’save himself and me with him’ it means he hasn’t heard my call, that he doesn’t know what I’m going through, and can’t join me. I am alone, irremediably alone. And anyway, why doesn’t he save

himself? He can’t, just like I can’t. Total disappointment, an infernal closing in on oneself. If only he knew how much I suffer! But no, the horizon is closed .

And so Jesus’ cry echoes, it lacks breath for he can no longer speak : ’My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?’( Mt.27.46) We do not know the effects of Jesus’ Word on this man. The mercy on the other thief, the openness of Jesus to his God did it not provoke the openness of this man to Jesus’ suffering which, this time, joins him? For Jesu cries out his distress which is the distress of he world. I this communion of Love that is the strongest that could ever be ’the Father and I are one( Jn.10.30) the most crucial distance given to live is expressed. Could it be a path of ’presence’ given to this condemned man with Jesus? It is because Jesus went down as far as this, because he emptied himself of himself to the point of being still able to open up a space of inner freedom tot his man’s heart. Having gone down even further, he can join him and raise him up. Thus this person, this thief, thought Jesus knew his suffering, his anguish and his absolute solitude, and had joined him on the very inside

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