Monday, October 24, 2005

Did Jesus Think He was a Success?

I've heard people say that, in the "world's" eyes, Jesus was a failure. I guess 'world' in this sense means those who focus on money and career first, then family...spirit next...or maybe spirit never.

After all, Jesus tried to get people to come out of themselves to see the beauty of sharing life with others.

But he got too scary for the people in charge, because what he was suggesting they do would have required tremendous sacrifice. Probably the most feared thing to lose: the self.

And then there was trouble when crowds began to follow him, and people brought their sick or their children to him to be blessed. So, they tried to challenge his teachings, and when they couldn't do that, they killed him.

In the end, I think Jesus probably even had a few moments of anguish, he, too, thinking that he was a failure. Hanging there on the cross, flanked by two criminals dying the same way, maybe he thought: What was it all for? Did I imagine I was His son?

And, as his mother, standing with him, looked up and watched, perhaps she, too, had a few moments of doubt. Did she think: Is this the reward I get for bearing His son, this pain in my heart? My baby. How sweetly we sang together. How I loved his little fingers, and the sound of his laughter.

So, by all those standards...his life and death, and those few moments in which they doubted and wished for more life, I guess he seemed a failure.

But there's another standard by which the world should measure his success. And that is the measure of compassion.

This great treasure he carried in his heart, and gave it freely to all he met.

And, despite the moment or two of doubt he may have had on the cross, I think Jesus knew that he was leaving us with this wealth.

Even on the road to death, he inspired compassion.

A woman, watching him carry his cross to the place where he would die, took pity on him. Perhaps she, too, was a mother, and thought: This is someone's son.

As he stumbled and fell under the cross' weight, she came to his side, and, as he looked up at her, she took a cloth and wiped his face. It was the only comfort she could give.


No comments: