Look upon Him and be healed
Within the Divine Office prayer book, lies a beautiful hymn to be sung on the occasions that celebrate the memory of a martyr. One of the verses says – “No man has ever measured love or weighed it in his hand, but God who knows the innermost heart, gives them the promise land.” How truly profound!
Jesus came to us as much more than a martyr, or a messenger, or even a prophet like those found in the first reading. He came down to us as our God—who is fully man. In fact, He is the only man to “measure” or express the infinite depths of love itself, and He did so by the weight of the cross in His hands.
In today’s gospel Jesus has a theological discussion with a Jewish leader one night. Jesus speaks to him about the Holy Spirit, about being born again and being saved but the leader (Nicodemus) seems quite confused.
He does not understand this concept of salvation that Jesus speaks of, and he asks our Lord—how is all this possible? How can someone who is already old, be born again? Jesus in response, refers to a past historical event, while impressing upon him the importance of Faith— and not faith in just anything or anyone—faith in the Son of Man himself.
As we continue our Lenten journey we must ask ourselves—in whom and in what do we place all our trust? Is it solely in our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ or is it in ourselves?
If we retrace our own history, we too would recognise the many times we have added infidelity to infidelity, engaged in shameful practices and defiled the temple of our mind, body and soul, which is consecrated to God.
We have trusted in ourselves on the many occasions when we have laughed, despised, ridiculed and ultimately rejected God’s Word and commands. Isn’t it an interesting fact that Jesus reminds Nicodemus of his ancestors’ sins; of the forty-year period of exile in the desert, when they were ungrateful and spoke out against God? He does so to make Nicodemus aware of the fact, that our God who knows all and sees all, is also the God who loves all, ever working to save his people.
Ironically, the serpent that bit the Israelites in the desert, would be the very image they must gaze upon to be saved. The source and instrument of their pain became their remedy, but this was only because they faced their sin and triumphed over it through the help of their intercessor Moses.
So great is the wisdom and power of God. He knows our innermost heart and in journeying with us shows us not only all the vices we need to get rid of, but all the virtues we need to cherish. We may have a dark past but Jesus gives us a bright future; we may have once lived in darkness, but we are called upon to be people of Light. All we have to do, is look upon Him and be healed. When we look upon the One we have pierced with our sins, He becomes the source and instrument of our salvation.
Even as a nation we can be healed. We can be born again, stepping out of these dark times of violence and death but we must first humbly acknowledge our sins before God. We must acknowledge the fact, that for far too long we have often spoken and acted violently towards one another.
From the hallowed halls of our parliament, to the benches beneath the shaded trees of the Savannah, we have been saying and doing hurtful things to one another. We have despised, ridiculed, and laughed at each other for far too long, ignoring the warnings of our religious leaders.
To step into the light, we must confront our sins not comfort them! Let us not prefer the darkness, instead let us reconcile with our past and repent. Repentance is an act of faith and all who have faith will not be condemned.
We have the greatest intercessor in Jesus Christ to help us, for not only do we pray to Him— we pray with Him and through Him. Let us continue to look upon Him this Lent, individually and collectively repenting of our past indiscretions, taking them all to the Cross where He has conquered them and from where He has shown the “measure” of His love.
The Gospel Meditations for March are by Br Maurice White OP, a former Arima/Malabar parishioner, and teacher at both Fatima College and Holy Cross College. He is currently studying for the priesthood at the Dominican Seminary in Dublin, Ireland.