‘Zeal for Your house consumes Me; the insults of those who blaspheme You have fallen on Me… Scorn has broken My heart and left Me helpless’ (PS 69: 9, 20).
Zeal consumed Jesus, ate Him up, killed Him.
His ‘ardent enthusiasm’ (a good definition of ‘zeal’) for the Father’s will and house is best expressed another way. Zeal for you consumed Him.
No-one else cared enough for your relation with the Father to die for you. No-one else died for your worst enemies, be they Donald Trump or Stormy Daniels or Kim Jong Un, FOX News or CNN. Only One was consumed for the salvation of the whole world.
Only One burned with such pure love for each person that He died. Good Friday establishes the fact that nothing need separate us from the Father’s love, even (especially) our enemies. He died for them as surely as He died for you. As you kneel before the Cross today, make sure you have an empty kneeler next to you. Jesus asks you to invite your worst enemy there.
Of course we can choose not to kneel. We can stay drugged up by whatever keeps us running. He burns with zeal anyway, for all of us, patiently.
Today is His day to show His zeal for all, beginning with us then through us to all persons. He was consumed with fire in order to burn off shame and guilt and fear and immoral judgments. He blazes to burn up all barriers that separate us from the Father’s love. He blazes to love us. Will you welcome His love for you afresh?
Consumed by love, Jesus died to release love—water to dissolve sin, blood to give us divine life (JN 19:34). How can we not help but love people better, with greater zeal? Good Friday makes the way.
‘Zeal is never static…zeal is dynamic; if zeal is not greater all the time, it is not zeal. Each day it should eat up more of us, so that there is less and less of us. “I must decrease that He might increase” (JN 3:30).’ Mother Mary Francis
The din surrounding Trump’s presidency invites me to sink into the Source, like a child escaping the surface noise by descending into a pool. There I hope to discover a hidden fount that liberates prayers for the man. Nothing else will do. Only the God who meets us in weakness, in silence, can help us now.
Last week I walked through two walls of protesters screaming ‘F**k Trump’ outside an airport. Amid the assault, I noticed one man holding a placard which displayed one of my favorite verses: ‘Do not mistreat an alien or oppress him, for you were once aliens in Egypt’ (EX 22:21). I thought of the Latin Americans I know who have helped revive the heart of Church and family in the north. For a flash, I wondered what kind of border best preserves the dignity of all persons, not only US citizens but also aliens in our midst whose gifts are greater than our fears. My thoughts dissolved in the barrage of vulgarities. Silence. Pray for the man.
I returned home to hear Madonna on the DC Mall muse on her plans to blow up the White House (she decided against it) while Ashley Judd coined her ‘Nasty Girl’ protest to protest nasty Trump. Another femme fatale lamented that she hadn’t machines guns in her vagina to aim straight at Trump. Hmmmm. More disturbing was the awareness that close Christian friends marched in smaller versions of ‘Women against Trump’ only to discover that they were unwittingly championing transgender and abortion rights. Since when does any man’s boorish persona justify a woman’s ‘freedom’ to annihilate her birthright or the child in her womb? Silence. Pray for the man.
Like you, I shudder at Trump’s self-congratulatory ways, how he apparently stays up all night to tweet back the stones hurled at him during the day. I pray that others might help him lose himself long enough to discover what best safeguards the dignity of all persons. His task is a crushing one. I love this country and honor the office of the presidency so I shall advocate for Trump’s best on my knees.
I am helpless on the water’s surface. Fox and CNN both confound me. Silence. I shall sink into the Source and pray.