Sunday, March 25, 2018

King Of Endless Mercy

During Lent, the acclamation is, "Praise to You, Lord Jesus Christ, King of endless glory!" I confess that it takes me a couple of weeks to get it right in my head. I want to say "mercy" every time. Then again, it's the same thing, if you think about it.

The fundamental awareness or consciousness of a disciple of Christ is that of being drawn into Him, and into the Father's love. "No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws Him" and, "After I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw all men to myself." "In him we have redemption, the forgiveness of our sins." "If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation..." "There is now no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus." We could go on.

He is Savior and Redeemer in every moment, not only in the high moments. He never stops being willing to die for our sins. This is a great mystery. The truth is that we are Peter, in every denial we are reminded. But how much does Jesus love Peter? We stop the thought process many times. Some of us are so proud, we enjoy dwelling on our failure. We create stern theologies of failure. On the one hand, holy mother Church always tells us that our sins are never inevitable or required. On the other, a good many people could use some thinking of themselves a little less, myself included.

Jesus loves you, full stop. Not theoretically or generally, like a beauty queen that wishes for world peace. You. You as you actually are, not how you want to be. If someone says this too often, people in the family get jumpy, like we're going to give the Eucharist to axe-murderers and pagans. But seriously, though, have you stopped to think about this? Recently? "God shows his love for us in this: that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." If you take a detour into "still sinner," Jesus is still your Redeemer. I can't get over it. I don't want to.

The thing that makes me chuckle nearly every day is this crazy idea that we've got to clean ourselves up somehow. This is how people think. Good people go to church. Good people do churchy things. I need a game show buzzer. News flash: Scumbags and thieves and losers and drunkards and perverts go to church, if they've heard the good news right. Because this is our last shot, our only shot at something better.

I just need to let Him look at me with that tenderness, as he must have looked at Peter, or the rich young ruler. That look--you almost get used to it--is powerful. You'll sell your whole life just to know someone loves you and knows you that way.

His glory is his mercy, and his mercy is his glory. Let it sound silly in your ears. Let it put laughter in your mouth, for then upon reflection, it will put laughter in your soul.

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