Today's readings give us widely contrasting pictures of Jesus.

Monday. 1/21/13

The readings today present us with two amazing characterizations of Jesus.

In the Gospel he presents himself as the bridegroom, as a young man in full vigor and comeliness. That picture of him has us asking who the bride might be, and my guess is that it is the Church, or all of us collectively. His presence with us calls for such joy that fasting or mourning are out of place.

Then, today’s reading from the Letter to the Hebrews goes further then any Bible passage in letting us see how fully human Jesus was. You might say that his humanity came through with more force when he was dying on the cross, and he called out, “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?”  But those are the opening words of Psalm Twenty-Two; and Jesus might have only been praying that psalm, not voicing human grief over abandonment.

From being a twenty-two year old seminarian I recall a Protestant Church movie screened across the valley from us. Through the film a spotless Jesus floated about giving blessings. Then, years later, across a valley in Korea, I watched a religious movie with a similarly perfect Jesus floating from village to village. The depiction of Jesus in today’s reading from Hebrew’s bears no similarity to those ghostly floating Jesuses.

Seemingly his being thwarted in his prayers was the cause for his  loud cries and to tears. The Bible here tells us that he became perfect only after “He learned obedience from what he suffered.” 

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