What if you knew you were going to die? What if you were told three days before? Only you knew. Would you have told us? Would you have kept it to yourself? Would you have told mom? You loved each other unlike anything or anyone else. You were made one in an unconditional union. How unbearable that would be. Which is worse though. Being crushed under the weight of it alone or attempting to bear the destruction with those you love most. Seeing it crush them too. We would have wanted to bear it with you. To soften the blow and hold you under the weight. How unimaginable to be living in two realities. One, pretending to live. The other, preparing to die.
I ponder Jesus on this Holy Thursday, commemorating the Passover with His disciples, creating the institution of the Eucharist, giving His body and blood. He is the Passover Lamb. But His disciples don’t understand. They don’t know what’s coming. Jesus knows they wouldn’t fully understand. He is giving them a “good-bye for now.”
As I have loved you, so you should love one another.
Do not let your hearts be troubled.
I will come back again and take you to Myself…
I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.
Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you.
Remain in My love.
Love one another.
But I tell you the truth, it is better for you that I go.
I have much more to tell you, but you cannot bear it now.
Amen, Amen, I say to you, you will weep and mourn…you will grieve, but your grief will become joy.
But I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy away from you.
Father, they are your gift to Me. I wish that where I am they also may be with Me, that they may see My glory that You gave Me, because You loved Me before the foundation of the world. Righteous Father…I made known to them Your name and I will make it known, that the love with which You loved Me may be in them and I in them.
[Gospel of John]
“Father, they are your gift to me. Julie, Adam, and Lauren. My beloved wife and children. Oh, how I wish that where I am they also may be with me, that they may see Your glory You gave me, because You loved us before the foundation of the world. Let them not despair but let their hearts rejoice. Righteous Father…you gave me the incredible blessing of being a husband and father to make known Your name, and I ask my life, and now my death, will make it known, that the love with which You loved me may be in my beautiful family and I in them.”
In the words of Jesus, I hear your good-bye for now, dad. The agony yet peace in your voice. The painful love in your eyes. All the suffering you endured coming to this. The end. How did you bear it?
I listened to a Gospel meditation on Palm Sunday from “iPray with the Gospel” [www.ipraywiththegospel.org] on the agony in the garden. Before His arrest, Jesus is praying in the garden. He asks the Father to let this cup pass from Him if He is willing; still, not My will but Yours be done [Luke 22:42]. In Jesus’s agony, an angel from heaven comes to strengthen Him. The meditation mentioned a dream a priest once had about this. The priest met the Angel and asked, “What did you say to Jesus to console Him that night?”
The Angel replied, “I talked to Him about you…”
In all your agony, pain and suffering, dad, there was immense love. You endured for mom, Adam, and I.
In the agony of the Son of God, crushed under the weight of my sin, He was reminded of me. Of you. Took the humiliation, terror, injustice, and utter cruelty of the cross; sweat blood. He lived and died for me. For you. Not two realities but the perfect one. His love.
What do you mean I cannot go where you are going? Why can I not come? I do not understand. How can you say it will be better for me if you go? Please, please, I beg you, no. I feel sick letting you go. My frail body trembles. What am I supposed to do? Tell me, my love. Do I fight for you? I will take up the sword for you! Do I let them take you? Take me instead! I vowed to follow you. Promised to always love you. How can I betray you now? You called me your beloved. You kissed me with the kisses of your mouth. Your left hand holds my head, and your right hand pulls me close to you. You called me beautiful. You loved me before the foundation of the world. You knew me in my mother’s womb. You breathed life into me. You formed me and called me by my name. You yearn for me. I am your delight. I am yours. When will you come back to me? I want to trust you, but my heart is swollen with grief. My soul mourns. I am scared. How long, my love? How long can I endure? My life is empty without you. Who am I without you? A songless bird. A parched well. Please, my love, come back to me. Take me to yourself. I wait for you always. I will seek you. I will remain in your love. You know that I love you. I will love you all the days of my life.
Good-bye my love.
O, my loving Jesus, until the rising sun of the third day, this is my good-bye for now.