We’ve been getting a lot of disturbing news at our house over the past week: illnesses and deaths of Sisters, friends and colleagues, as well as difficult national and international event reports. We wonder when it will all end and “normalcy” will return but we are reminded often that “this is the new normal” and that we must step up into acceptance and courage.
I was struck this morning as I read the lectionary text from Paul’s Letter to the Hebrews (2: 14-18) that reminds readers of the mission of Jesus as one who understood the primacy of love and how to practice love to its full measure. As one of the fundamental truths of the Christian faith, it was not a new thought but, as sometimes happens, the power of one line – the last one in the text today – stopped me with the depth of its meaning. It said that “because he himself was tested through what he suffered, he is able to help those who are being tested.”
Sometimes my comprehension stops short of remembering that in addition to Jesus as “fully divine,” my faith also asserts that he was fully human. I always know it, of course, somewhere in the recesses of my brain, but the reality of what it means in the everyday sufferings and sadness and loss – as much as the joy and affection and deeply loving encounters – is really something that Jesus lived as a fully human being even before he ascended to the role of the Christ in its fullness. In other words, he really, really felt the same kind of losses to the same degree or deeper that we are experiencing now and he went even further by losing his own life for love.
I don’t know how to explain the moment of recognition that was mine with that reading this morning. It can only be experienced and that is not something we can give to one another – we can only wish it for each other. All I know is gratitude for the fact that a divine being understands my struggles in a palpable way and shares them as his own.
And that is enough for now.