“Did Jesus cry from pain?” I remember hearing this question on Catholic radio. The answer (if I recall correctly) was that Jesus could cry from physical pain—He was fully human like us. And He was capable of weeping emotionally, like with His grief after Lazarus had died (see John 11:35).
If we want to understand Jesus in His most vulnerable state though, how about after the consecration at Mass? Witnessing the Eucharistic bread get broken… isn’t that like when His Body was broken on Calvary, or when His heart was broken by so much misunderstanding, hatred, and betrayal? Total annihilation in a different form… an act of humiliation from our infinite God. To feed us properly, He would give us His very Self, entering even into those who would abuse the sacrament. So great is the thirst of Christ for His poor creatures’ love, He would take us in even as sour, unpleasant wine (John 19:29).
How could an all-knowing, omnipotent God choose to suffer if it could have been easily avoided by Him? I’m rephrasing the problem of evil and suffering, but with God as the central character, the hero, the only One Who is truly good (Luke 18:19). Why does God suffer gratuitously? I think precisely because He is pure innocence, benevolence, mercy. Love is having your arms stretched open in embrace, not closed off in pride and self-love. It’s giving every drop of blood, not just what you can spare.
As sinful human beings, we’ve limited our capacity for love. To share an example, I came across a disturbed woman after Mass this Saturday. She had a backpack on, so I thought she might be homeless. She was trying to sleep on the grass outside the church, but I passed her by because I was scared. I didn’t want to engage with a stranger who possibly needed my help. I became a coward in trying to protect myself.
Among all creation, the Blessed Mother possessed the greatest capacity for love—she needed to, in order to bear the Son of God, Who is love. Only her Immaculate Heart was worthy of this most sacred honor. She’s our model, and I don’t think she’s ever neglected anyone who’s asked for her help.
“You might be miseria (in misery) but standing right in front of you is Misericordia (mercy).” –Father Robert Barron
In shame, I prayed for that suffering woman… but I know God’s grace can make up for my messes. Just one final thought… it took three years for humanity to decide it had enough of Jesus and needed to kill Him. It took three days for Him to rise again, opening up Heaven for us. But it didn’t even take a second for Him to forgive, and for His Mother to forgive. How do we respond to these torrents of mercy? I hope you feel God’s love so very powerfully this Easter. I hope that despite the experiences that harden our hearts, we are softened by His vulnerability and enter into Communion with the Lover Who promises us a life of lasting fulfillment, goodness, and redemption.