Today’s refrain from Psalm 18 gives us the theme of the readings: “In my distress, I called upon the Lord, and he heard my voice.”
Outside our church on Sunday mornings is parked a car with vanity plates that read “YMELORD”, i.e., “Why me, Lord?” This is a question that comes up in all our lives. Jeremiah suffered through rejection of his prophetic mission at the time of the exile. And the gospel relates how Jesus also is rejected by “the Jews” who are trying to stone him for blasphemy.
Jesus is threatened by those who witness his “works.” And Jesus challenges his accusers to clarify over which “good work” are they charging him. Jesus’ time had not yet come so he fled down the mountain to the Jordon. His passion and death would come soon but he wanted to celebrate the Passover first with his disciples. Next Friday is Good Friday in our present day liturgy so all this drama fits together.
We asked the question, “Why me, Lord?” There are many ways to respond. We can join with him in his passion and death as we realize in our lives we also have many moments of crisis when we plead for God’s help. There are times of mourning when a family member dies; there are economic crises when we lose a job or even a home; there are spiritual crises of faith when we find it hard to believe in a good God who cares for us, etc.
Our scriptural texts this past week have dwelt on crises: Monday with Jesus saving the woman caught in adultery; Wednesday with Daniel refusing to worship the golden statue of Nebachadnezzar and then being thrown into the fiery furnace with his three campanions and yesterday’s readings where the Jews protest that Jesus could give them eternal life.
We need to remember the comment made to Thomas in the Upper Room the week after Jesus rose from the dead. Jesus said, “Blessed are they who believe even though they do not see.” This can also be translated to “Blessed are they who have trusted even though they do not understand!”
So “Why me , Lord?” If we truly trust the Lord we can respond “why not, Lord because blessed are we who do not understand even though we are bombarded on all sides with terrible pressures and anxieties.
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