ANOTHER WILL BIND YOU
Several weeks ago with the celebration of my 79th birthday I crossed the threshold into my 80th year, profoundly aware all is grace, each moment of life a gift from Love Himself, and found myself recalling a particular passage from the Holy Gospel according to St. John, one which never until now, had a personal aspect to it.
The passage is from St. john 21:15~19: Vs 18: “Amen, amen, I say to you, when you were younger, you used to dress yourself and go where you wanted; but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.”
Spoken in the context of His Resurrection appearance, where He had made breakfast for His beloved Apostles, it is one of the many occurrences where Jesus who loves us, shows tenderness to those whom He meets: such as the woman caught in adultery, the woman at the well, the woman crawling on her belly seeking healing, the man of small stature climbing the sycamore tree to better see Jesus, the tender glance towards Peter which ignited a fire of repentance and trust in Peter's heart, His gaze of love towards the rich young man; His compassion for the thousands who had followed Him and were hungry whom He fed in abundance, and countless other instances of His tender and compassionate love.
For us alive today and in the future and as it was for our ancestors in the faith, we receive the Divine Embrace of merciful love each time we faithfully receive Jesus in the Most Holy Eucharist, of which the Church declares: Thou didst give them Bread from Heaven. Alleluia. Containing in itself all sweetness. Alleluia. 1]
A critical aspect of experiencing Christ’s love and care has come from my family who found a place for me in an assisted living facility which includes independence. Initially I balked at the idea, for who wants to be bound and led where we would rather not go?
Critical in the passage from St. John referenced in the above is the context: Jesus asking Peter three times” Do you love Me?” (in the Greek each use of “do you love Me” is a more intimate use of the word love) hence Jesus’ follow me is His invitation to the intimacy of Communion of Love, which every reception of the Holy Eucharist is, theologically we could rightly say Communion of Love as well as Holy Communion.
“Follow Me” includes the implied wherever He leads us and however He leads us, in imitation of our Blessed Mother our love is expressed in fiat!
It is how we take up His cross, our cross, each day and follow Him on the great pilgrimage through time and experience until the final binding takes place when it is Sister death who binds us and the reluctance to go where she leads becomes the exhilaration of the eternal brightness of Love’s embrace where there is no more binding, no more tears, no more uncertainty or reluctance.
© 2023 Fr. Arthur Joseph
1] Excerpted from A Prayerbook of Favorite litanies complied by Father Albert J. Hebert, S.M.,
TAN Books, Charlotte, North Carolina, 2010; p. 50