Wednesday in the Second Week of Lent at Mississippi Abbey

Scripture Readings: Jer 18:18-20; Mt 20:17-28         

On his way to be crucified, Jesus tried to tell his disciples about the agony he was feeling, “… the Son of Man will be handed over to be condemned, mocked, scourged, and crucified …”  But they didn’t listento his distress.  They were thinking about power and honors.  Yet, for all his inner agony, Jesus treats them with humility and kindness.  He asks, “What do you wish?”  St. Benedict urges monks to put on the kindness of Jesus.  For example, he writes, “If goods are not available to meet a request, let the procurator offer a kind word in reply, for a kind word is better than the best gift,” (RB 31:13f). 

One day Charlie Brown was fleeing from the wrath of Lucy who was threatening him with her raised fist: “I’ll get you, Charlie Brown, I’ll get you, I’ll knock your block off.”  Suddenly he stopped running and wheeled around. “Wait a minute,” he said,“Hold everything. We can’t carry on like this. We have no right to act this way. The world is filled with problems. People hurting each other, people not understanding one another. Now, if we as children can’t solve our minor problems, how can we expect …..”  At this point Lucy interrupted Charlie Brown’s preaching with a stiff punch that knocked him to the ground. She said, “I had to hit him quick. He was beginning to make sense.”  That little scene captures the high calling of Jesus’ disciples: to speak the truth and to suffer for it; to stand in harm’s way without ever doing harm; to win hearts not by force of violence or striking back, but by love; to suffer and to die for others, just like Jesus.