Father forgive me, for I knew not what I did…
This morning when I awoke, the prayers on my lips were, “Alleluia, Alleluia, Hosana in the Highest! All Glory and Praise to our God…”. These were the prayers I prayed today.
And yet, today, while I my lips prayed to the Perfect DIVINITY of God, it was His Perfect HUMANITY that was in my mind.
This is not the first time I have thought about the humanity of God the Son.
In reflecting on His Birth and His Death, I see His Humanity. It is there in the inadequacy of the Manger, and the indignity of the Cross.
And yet, today, the Humanity that I see in my mind’s eye is not the Humanity of His Sacred Birth or Holy Death. Today I see the Humanity of His Blessed LIFE…
Christ was a nomad. That means that He voluntarily left His home and travelled around various regions in His world with His disciples and His Blessed Mother, who was His FIRST disciple.
Christ was poor. He owned very little and as a travelling Rabbi He earned nothing, relying on the generosity of donations. Accordingly, Christ mostly likely travelled by foot, wearing only sandals on His Blessed Feet, and carrying His possessions on His Blessed Back, Christ walked a distance of probably hundreds of kilometres over the course of His public ministry.
I am not a very fit person. While I do not look too fat, I rarely do any exercise, because it always seems to move to the bottom of my list of things to do. Despite the fact that I am no athlete, several times in my life I have walked the City2Surf. The City2Surf is a 14kilometre race that starts at Martin Place in the Sydney CBD and finishes at Sydney’s Bondi Beach. Since my children were born, I have walked this race with them too – so I definitely go very slowly here.
And yet, even though we travel with a water bottle in our hands and a few snacks to keep us entertained, that walking is hard work. By the end of the race trying to move even a single step is probably one of the most difficult things we have ever done.
At times Christ walked far more than 14 kilometres in a day.
Christ was quite famous during His public ministry. And He visited small villages and towns, where news travels fast. So, when people heard that He was arriving, they would have swarmed to Him. Can you imagine the crowds?
If I knew that there was someone in town who could cure any illness or ailment, and even bring a loved one back from the dead, I would happily wait days and days and days in a line just to have Him touch me for an instant.
Those people did that. They did not even give Him a moment to catch His breath, eat a meal or pitch a tent when He arrived. Instead, they were hustling and bustling to the front of the crowd, trying to have their turn, trying to be healed.
And Christ is God – He never turns us away. He would have stayed there healing us – all of us – all day and all night. He does so now…
Last year, while my little niece was so very sick, one of the beautiful priests who prayed with us for her recovery, said that the miracle when Christ healed the lame and the deaf and the blind and the dumb and the lepers was not the cure – because those people too would eventually die. The miracle was in the faith that resulted from His actions. The miracle was in His victory over sin, over human weakness, which was caused by the fall of humanity and Original Sin.
Can you imagine the encounter with Christ? Each encounter would be personal. Each time a new person approached Him, Christ would have looked into their eyes and seen into their souls. Can you imagine how much sin He witnessed during that time of miracles? How many people came for healing without a contrite heart? How many people came for healing without acknowledging the GLORY of God?
I have… Perhaps you have too?
How many times in my life have I prayed and demanded not that GOD’S WILL be done, but that MY WILL be done? And when I prayed for this, how many times did God HELP me anyway?
Did I approach Him with a contrite heart? When I stood before Him and made my demands, did I at least have the decency to first repent of my sins so that I would limit any of His distress?
I stood before Him as brazen as the sun in the sky and demanded that He listen to my wailing.
What horror I feel now for my actions… My Lord and my God – what have I done? Father, forgive me, for I knew not what I did…
Why was I standing? Why wasn’t I kneeling at His Blessed Feet?
When Christ was preparing for bed at the end of those long and tiring days – after walking and carrying and healing, after talking to people and praying for them for hours and hours and hours, after missing meals and ignoring His human needs in service of others – who knelt at His Feet? Who removed His sandals? Who wiped the sweat from His brow? Who bid Him goodnight?
When His Human body had reached its limit, and He needed to rest for the night, who comforted Him in this weakness, that He so willingly and selflessly assumed for our sins?
For shame! For shame! For shame!
But today, this cannot continue. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16).
In knowing this. In really and truly knowing this fearful truth, what should I do?
I can attend Mass – to commemorate and re-live His Sacrifice. Saint Claude de la Colombiere lamented… “How few rejoice to possess the means of honouring Him as He deserves!... If only we knew the treasures we hold in our hands.”
Through this, I can wipe the sweat from His brow. I can kneel at His Holy Feet and remove His sandals.
What treaures I will carry in my hands then…
OH my poor Beloved… Father forgive me, for I knew not what I did…
For with sorrow, I stand on Holy Ground where everything is clear. Here. At the Foot of the Cross.