March 8, 2016 Tuesday: 4th Week of Lent C
What happens when Jesus gazes at you and reaches out for you? In today’s gospel, Jesus reaches out to an invalid man who had been ill for 38 years. With Jesus’ command, “Rise, take up your mat, and walk,” the man was healed of his infirmity. Perhaps such radical and visible healing may not happen to all of us, but something incredible does happen when Jesus reaches out for us and we respond. If you go down to the adoration chapel below this church, you can read a binder filled with praise and thanksgiving that countless people recorded. Many folks who go to adoration tell me how they are filled with peace--peace that money cannot buy.
Did you see the movie Risen that is showing in the theaters? In the movie, a Roman Tribune named Clavius is trying his best to achieve his military career ambition. At one point his superior, Pontius Pilate, asked Clavius his ultimate goal. Clavius replied that after winning a political position in Rome, he would like to retire in the countryside where he would enjoy peace. He felt trapped by his his inability to reconcile his career ambition with what he ultimately desired -- peace. In some way, Clavius’ belief parallels the modern belief that peace is achieved through hard work and toil. While we can achieve temporary peace, the deep, abiding peace seems to elude most of us. How many of us are family members work untold hours, purchase items to make us happy, try bigger and better ‘toys’ only to realize that we are not any happier.
At Jesus’ crucifixion on Calvary, Clavius gets a glimpse of dead Jesus who seemed to gaze directly at him. Then later Clavius encounters the risen Jesus in a gathering of disciples. The risen Jesus gazes at Clavius with much compassion and understanding, which confuses Clavius and brings peace all at the same time.
Have you ever pondered why Jesus invites you to encounter him in the Eucharist, in the image of Divine Mercy, and in the Chaplet of Divine Mercy? Jesus told St. Faustina, “See I have left My heavenly throne to become united with you. What you see is just a tiny part and already your soul swoons with love. How amazed your heart will be when you see Me in all My glory (Diary, 1810). Do not fear anything; I am always with you” (Diary, 613).
Jesus is reaching out to us today, to unite himself with us. He asks for a response, however meager that may be--a response to trust Him. So we pray with faith that He will draw us to the fountain of His mercy in which we will find deep abiding peace that money cannot buy.
-Fr. Paul Yi