Volume 3 of 3 – musical support for imaginative scriptural prayer by Bob Dufford, S.J.
Tongues as of Fire (Vol.3)
Week Three (cont’d): Jesus’ Passion and Death
The Third Week is about the last days of Jesus’ life, his fidelity to his mission to reveal how God is toward us. “He who sees me, sees the Father.” [cf. Jn12:45, 14:7-9] Some people avoid contemplating the passion because of the physical and emotional violence. But the aim is not at glorifying pain and violence or even seeing Jesus as a tough hero who can take any pain that is thrown at him. Freely-born pain does not make up for past sin. But God
can choose to forgive it. The question is: Can we believe that God is such that God would forgive us? As Pope Francis has often said, “God never tires of forgiving us, but we often tire of asking to be forgiven.” Gazing at Jesus hanging on the cross is not meant to focus us on ourselves in guilt or shame, but to help us appreciate how far God would go to win us back. The focus is not on us at all, but on this Gift of God who is Jesus of Nazareth.
So the grace of the Third Week is the same as the Second Week [“to know you more inti- mately …”] but we add “even though it be to loss and death.”
Week Four: Jesus’ Risen Life and Pentecost
The scenes of the Fourth Week are from the resurrected life of Jesus. At first glance this may seem to be just enjoying the victory over death and proving to people that he is “still alive.” But the fact is that his human lifespan is over; he has died. This is not reanimation for more of the same as with Lazarus [Jn 11] or the son of the widow of Naim [Lk 7:11-14].
The grace of the Fourth Week is to find hope as we look on the very same world with all its corruption, greed, shaming, and angling for power that still remains. To look upon such a world with hope seems crazy to us because we feel completely inadequate to have much ef- fect upon it. But we are not alone in this. Jesus is still with us in a way we do not fully grasp.
The various scenes in this Week pivot on the dawning realization that Jesus “has been with me/us all along,” e.g., with Magdalene at the tomb [Jn 20], or with the disciples on the way to Emmaus [Lk 24:13-33], or the apostles in the upper room [Lk 24:36ff]. We have hope not because we have power or secret knowledge of the future, but because we trust that God loves us and this world more than we do. As Paul said in Romans 8, if God is for us, what does it matter who is against us?
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