“HAVE I SENT YOU INTO HIDING?” (Jn 8:51-59): 13 March 2008 (Thursday)
A strange and disturbing thing happens in the gospel account today. Jesus is speaking to the Jews and tells them what they don’t want to hear: that because they don’t keep his word, they will see death. Of course, the Jews aren’t exactly flattered by this. But when the Lord puts himself on equal footing with God and once again uses God’s name as he refers to himself as “I AM” (“Yahweh”), all hell breaks loose. The Jews pick up stones to throw at him, forcing the Lord to go into hiding.
Unthinkable, isn’t it? How can the Jews treat the Lord in such a manner, sending him to hide like some thief in the night? But then again, we shouldn’t be surprised. After all, doesn’t he get a worse treatment later on?
The question I’d like to ask the Lord today is: “What about me? Do I also send you into hiding?”
It’s an interesting, if not surprising, question to ask. Why would anyone today think of doing that to the Lord? But don’t we occasionally do things that drive the Lord away–perhaps not with stones, but certainly with the things we do and the way we live our lives?
One time I drove the Lord away was when I was in college. Tired of playing the “good guy” all the time, I went into some kind of rebellious stage. I became what is called a lapsed Catholic. I stopped going to Mass, and I think I totally gave up on praying. Worse than that, I’ve decided to stop thinking about God altogether. Looking back, I recognize those years of my college life as “my years of living dangerously.” I could have harmed myself. I could have harmed others. I could have lost my soul.
But as these things happen sometimes, I ran out of roads, and for the first time in a long time, thought about going back. But I was afraid of turning to God, believing that after all the detours and dead ends I had been to, he would have nothing to do with me. After all, why should he? I did not deserve his mercy or even his attention. I could have sworn I had sent him away and drove him into hiding like the sun in some prolonged eclipse.
But I was mistaken. It was I who went into hiding, and when I finally brought myself to creep back into the light, he was there. He had been waiting all along. No amount of detour and dead end could send him into hiding or drive him away.
If the season of Lent finds you still in hiding from God, it’s time to step into the light and go back.
Here’s a Quick Question for you: “Any similar experience on your part when you thought you may have driven the Lord away?” Think about it, share a thought, a feeling, or a question.
Note: Here is a song I wrote about those years called “Out of Roads.” It must be what the Prodigal Son sang after he left his father and things started to go wrong. If you want to listen to the song, click here
OUT OF ROADS
(Music: AdC Aquino, SJ
Lyrics: JC Go, SJ)
I just ran out of roads again
Don’t know where to turn
I started counting stars again
Then I lost my way
I just ran out of time again
Will I ever learn
To stop my chase of hours again
Only to learn I’ve lost the day?
The last thing I need
Is to hear this whisper in the wind
The last thing I want
Is this voice that rises from within
I’ll need to go home soon, I know
But maybe tomorrow, not now
When the last thing I need here and now
Is this lasting need for You.
Rushing out of rooms again
Too afraid to stay
I’ve been dreaming of some rainbow’s end
But the colors melt away.
Should my heart be like an open door
Helpless to the storm,
Permit Your wind to touch my soul
Only to leave this aching song?
The one thing I need
Is to hear Your whisper in the wind
The one thing I want
Is Your voice that rises from within
I need to go home soon to You
Won’t wait for tomorrow, right now
For the one thing I need here and now
Is this haunting need for You.
(image: Icon of Christ)