Friday, March 29, 2013

Good Friday 2013: The Hand that Feeds us

I was out walking our dogs one day Strider and Arwen.  A german shepherd and a siberian husky.  Great dogs  mans best friends.  Strider is my boy.  As much as I try to think of him as just a dog, he gets to me.  So we were out walking one day and they were hunting for mice.  Theyre so cute working together - one digs over here and the other stands or crouches at the other end of the hole waiting for the mouse to pop-out.  Well this one day I didnt read the body language right and they got into a fight;  Right there in front of me.  Naturally, I yelled I tugged then I grabbed Strider by the collar to pull him away.  In that instant, Arwen got hold of my arm thinking she had clamped onto Striders neck.  For several seconds, I shouted and pulled and finally she realized she had bit into the wrong thing my arm.  I was angry at both of them for fighting but more than that I was sad that my best friends had turned on me.  Yeah I can remind myself that she didnt mean it she thought she was biting Strider.  Their self preservation instinct kicked in.  Yeah I can remind myself that there is a pecking order to the pack and those two had to get things straightened out.  But still, it made me sad.  They wouldnt listen to me!  I TRIED to get them to stop hurting each other... and in the process, I got bit.  Now the bite wasnt that bad it was winter, so I had three layers of clothes on.  It wasnt the physical pain that hurt it was the fact that my friends had turned on me.  Afterward, they both seemed sad too... Especially Arwen... Once she realized what she did, she was sorry.  She bit the hand that feeds her.

For the first time, I could really understand how Jesus could say from the cross forgive them, Father they dont know what they are doing.  Just like my dogs, Jesus knew that the Romans were just doing their job to bring law and order to the Roman Empire.  The Jews were just doing what they truly thought was best for the Israelite people trying to prevent them from being annihilated by the Romans.  And the Apostles were scared to death of both of them and like any other human being they ran for their lives.  Their self-preservation instincts kicked in. 

Still - It had to make Jesus sad.  He had TRIED to get them to stop hurting each other and in the process, he got hurt.  They wouldnt listen to him.

Yet he understood why they did it even GOOD people get caught up in self-preservation and do the wrong thing even though they THINK it is for the best.  Father forgive them. 

We experience that.  Half of our marriages end this way you know, we marry our best friend and for a while, life is good.  But something changed...our self preservation kicks in when things get rocky.  Co-workers stab us in the back.  Family members do unthinkable things to one another.  Even our BEST friends let us down. 

If that was the end of the story it would indeed be a sad state.  But this is not SAD Friday this is GOOD Friday.  But Jesus shows us another way.  Notice even though he KNEW that Judas was going to betray him, he didnt kick him out!  Judas was there and had his feet washed last night!  Judas was there for the first Mass at the last supper Judas received the first Eucharist!  Judas received the Body and blood of Christ from the very hand of Christ!  You cant get much closer of a friend than that yet well you know what he did.  He bit the hand that fed him.  His self-preservation kicked in.  Jesus denounced his actions but He loved Judas to the end. 

How can we live this example in our own relationships?  First it may sound like a pious platitude but put yourself in the other persons shoes.  If we can come to understand WHY they do what they do and we might realize that we would do the same thing if we were in that situation.  It doesnt make it RIGHT but makes it forgivable.  Father forgive them 

Second do the right thing regardless of how we are treated.  We all have a conscience.  We all can pray for Gods will.  Even with that unbearable pain of betrayal on his heart Jesus continued to follow the Fathers will.  He knew what he had to do and though his humanity would like to have skipped over the suffering part, his WILL was so tightly connected to his Fathers will that he WANTED to die on that cross.  Remember he said Nobody takes my life from me I lay it down on my own.  He crawled onto that cross willingly.  If he could have, he would have reached over with one hand and drove the nail through his other hand himself!!!  For the sake of the disciples.  For the sake of the Romans.  For the sake of the chief priests and scribes!  Yes even for his friends who had abandoned or betrayed him.  For our sake.  Had he stopped short of giving it ALL, the sacrifice would have been incomplete and we would still be bound by the law to die for our sins. 

Father forgive us. We really DIDN'T know what we were doing.  But now-we realize we bit the hand that feeds us.

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