defending others, but not ourselves

Father Michael Cupp made the important point to us on the Sunday of the Passion, Palm Sunday, that like Jesus we should not seek to vindicate ourselves when we are accused or condemned. Instead we’re to wait for God’s vindication and salvation. And in our Lord’s case, that vindication brought salvation not only for him in the resurrection, but through that death and resurrection, for the entire world, even for those who condemned and crucified him, if by grace they would have repented and believed.

And unlike our Lord’s disciples, we as those on the other side of both Easter- our Lord’s resurrection, and Pentecost, as those who are resurrection, Spirit-endowed people, we should speak up and act appropriately, so as to defend others. Father Michael’s thoughts make me wonder just what the Lord would have had the disciples do on Holy Week when darkness reigned. I’m rather of the thought that they had to go through all the weakness and failure to prepare them for what was to come. Not that by watching and praying in Gethsemane with the Lord, they wouldn’t have been better prepared to overcome the weakness of the flesh in what followed. And be an encouragement to Jesus himself, though through prayer Jesus gained the strength that he needed for the great trial which he alone was to endure.

Somehow their failure would perhaps prepare them to receive God’s grace. It is God’s grace preveniently, that makes the difference; it’s not about God’s grace and the human will together, but God’s grace changing the human will in conformity with his will. We still have to choose, but we are dependent on God’s grace to be in God’s will in our choosing and living. A subject perhaps for another time.

I think Father Michael’s words are quite germane in our lives in a number of ways. When we think we should not say something, even though we’re inclined to say it and have, so as to make ourselves look better, that is at least an indication that we may be off track. Better, in fact it may be God’s will for us to be quiet. To not vindicate ourselves, but to leave that in God’s hands, and be willing to be looked down on, or perhaps misunderstood, maybe for a long time. But when others are wronged, we need to appropriately address it, not the way the world does. But with an ear to mercy and justice for all, hoping to see the perpetrator come to repentance and life, that there might be full reconciliation.

Good points to continue to think about as we read the gospel accounts of what happened on that most difficult, most glorious week.


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