Saturday, April 5, 2014

Lamb anyone ?

When we thing of lamb, we tend to think of "Mary had a little lamb", cute, little, white, wooly. Slaughter is not the first word we associate with lamb, even if we think of lamb chops. We tend to want to avoid the ugly part, the actual killing.

In the old calendar tomorrow would have been Passion Sunday. In the present calendar it has been collapsed into Palm Sunday, but there are still the remnants. Like the covering of statues and many if the readings in the week.

Our first reading today is the image of the trusting lamb led to slaughter, an image of Jesus. The readings are beginning to turn our eyes toward the events of Good Friday, not because the church is morbid, because of the entire gospel it may well be the hardest part of the gospel for us to embrace.

We erroneously believe that if we pray or are good, God will protect us from suffering. The truth that suffering is an inevitable part of human existence, or the even crazier Christian notion that suffering can be beneficial are parts of the gospel from which we would like to run, or at least avoid as much as possible.

We euthanize animals because their suffering is meaningless. But a part of what Christ taught us by his own example is that human suffering is a different reality. When we can, united with Christ, not hide from, but courageously enter into our suffering we find our truest self. Like gold refined in fire.

I can think of no finer example that my dear friend Hollister who is living with ALS. You ca read a bit of her story here. This tall feisty red-head faces the challenges of each new with true indomitable courage and strength.