Many of the headlines I read each day and hear on the evening news seem to repeat history. Someone, some group, some country is offended or taken advantage of, they attack and the violence continues. The stories that appeal to me are almost always ones that tell of people who in spite of hardship are accomplishing great good.
In today’s reading from the Gospel of John, we read that “The Jews picked up rocks to stone Jesus. Then Jesus answered them, ‘I have shown you many good works from my Father. For which of these are you trying to stone me?’” Jesus had the truly “amazing grace” to accept suffering and persecution without passing it on. He transformed his pain into the love of good works and he challenged us to do the same.
For me the message of Lent and of the passion of Jesus is well-expressed by Richard Rohr, OFM, who says “If we do not transform our pain, we will most assuredly transmit it.”
My experience is that none of us gets all our needs met, and our human need for affection, acceptance, approval and appreciation is never filled. And few if any of us make it through life without the pain of disappointment, betrayal, injustice, or discrimination. We feel slighted or disrespected and we want to lash out. Can we turn to God to make these wounds into sacred wounds and so become the “wounded healers” for our families and communities? If we can find that God is somehow present in our pain, we refrain from passing it on and use it for good as Jesus did. Instead of retaliating and stoning others with our words and actions, we can become the stones to support the kingdom of God.
Co-Founder of Spiritual Ministries Institute and
a member of HeartPaths DFW Founding Faculty