Daily Reflection
February 14th, 2000
Kathy Kanavy
Institute for Priestly Formation
Click here for a photo of and information on this writer.

Saint of Cyril, monk, and Methodius, bishop - Memorial 
James 1:1-11
Psalms 119:67-68, 71-72, 75-76
Mark 8:11-13

“…Count it pure joy when you are involved in every sort of trial.  Realize that when your faith is tested this makes for endurance.  Let endurance come to its perfection so that you may be fully mature and lacking in nothing.” 

             James 1:2

 These are sobering words.  Who can hear these words without shuddering inside, remembering the pain that comes with the trials we have known in our lives?  How could James encourage us not only to endure our trials but also to know it as pure joy?  Is he crazy?

Strangely, the answer is yes, he is crazy…crazy in love. 

As we in our culture celebrate Valentine’s Day today, we are reminded of the experience of loving and being loved.  We know nothing more wonderful than love—be it love for our wife or husband, daughter or son, friends, grandparents etc.  Nothing enraptures us more than being in “love.”  I would like to suggest that our readings today invite us to taste the love that God has for us and that we have for God.  Let me explain.

In the Gospel reading today, the Pharisees come forward to ask Jesus for some heavenly sign.  The Gospel says, “With a sigh from the depths of his spirit he said, “Why does this age seek a sign?”  What’s important here lies in entering into Jesus’ experience.  We know the Gospel stories so well that is easy to forget that this Jesus is God incarnate.  God has loved us so much that He has entered into our human pains and sufferings.  This brief scene shows us His frustration, not a surface impatience but a pain that comes “from the depths of his spirit.”  Remember too how Jesus wept over Jerusalem.  Presently, a beautiful, simple church in the shape of a tear marks the spot overlooking Jerusalem commemorating the depth of anguish out of love that Jesus has for His people. Hear in these events the depths of love that Jesus has:  a love so deep that compels Him to sigh from the depths of His spirit, to weep in suffering with His people, and even to lay down His life that you and I might know unending joy—in love with Him in the Trinity.  It’s a beautiful love story.  We know the ending—eternal life with Him forever…if we say yes.

So what does this have to do with James’ statements about knowing joy in the midst of every sort of trial?  The joy is simply letting Jesus be with us and love us in the midst of our pain.  Jesus weeps with us.  He weeps for the pain, the loss, the concerns, the yearnings that you and I have for ourselves and those we love; indeed, He feels far more pain and love for us and those we love than we do! 

What are the trials that you bear today?  What are the pains that you carry in your heart?  I urge you to offer these to Jesus in prayer today and to place them on the altar at Mass.  Here He will comfort you, console you, strengthen you, and uphold you in love through His cross and resurrection.  We endure trials not on our own strength but by being loved by the One who loves us beyond our imaginings—today and for all time.

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