A reflection on this Sunday’s Mass by Sr Kym Harris osb

James Tissot (French, 1836-1902). The Gentiles Ask to See Jesus (John 12:20-26)

A reflection on this Sunday’s Mass by Sr Kym Harris osb and downloaded from http://www.prayasyoucan.com.au

A few years ago, I read an account of a Syrian man who had been arrested and tortured four times by the Syrian authorities. Each time his family has paid for his release. Finally, he fled Syria with this family. In telling his horrific story, he said that he no longer believed in God, asking ‘How could a God allow such a person as Bashir Al-Assad to exist and to control a regime such as that operating within his country.’ It is a fair question and one that many of us have faced at times in our lives. I do not know the full answer but, in my groping, I believe that the Christian response has something to do with God’s respect for human free will and his horror at some of the choices that we make. Rather than override our choices, God, in the person of Jesus, enters into our suffering, transforming it into his life. The question and response that Jesus poses in this Gospel show the two alternatives he faced him in his coming Passion. He says ‘Should I say, Father save me from this hour. But for this very hour, have I come.’ The God who would save Jesus out of this hour is one remote from human suffering and one who must override human free will when it does not conform to his plan. The God who allows Jesus to enter into human suffering, experiencing the consequences of the choices of evil men, yet still loving to the end is a God who respects our humanity and free will – even though, at times, we baulk and reject such respect. As I said, that is what I have come to in my groping, and I realise it is inadequate. To hold together, the mysteries of God’s love and human iniquity, we have to look at the Cross till it reveals to us its Glory.

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