One who has loved Him too late
This weekend’s Gospel reading brings us rather terrifying images of a great millstone hung around the neck, cutting off hands and feet, torn out eyes… Jesus is a master in parable teaching; and he knows how to use shock value. Obviously, Jesus’ comments cannot be taken literally here. It’s an invitation to make a radical decision to follow Jesus in missionary discipleship through witness and action.
There is the famous painting “The Light of the World” by William Holman Hunt, illustrating the figure of Jesus preparing to knock on an overgrown and long-unopened door. The door in the painting has no handle on the outside, and can be opened only from the inside. Jesus just stands there knocking. But he will not enter unless someone standing at the other side of the door opens it and lets him in.
The original painting is in St. Paul’s Cathedral in London. There was a story told that a number of years ago that during the restoration of the painting, a discovery was made. When the restorer took the picture out of its frame, he uncovered a message written by the artist and hidden by the molding of the frame. The artist wrote; “Forgive me, Lord Jesus, that I have kept you waiting so long.” There is that longing of a heart that is just waiting!
We can hear the same sentiments in St. Eugene’s memories of his Good Friday experience. He recognizes the promptings of the Holy Spirit that he felt, but didn’t have the courage to commit himself to answering and following the Spirit; “How often in my past life had my wounded, tormented heart taken wings for God from whom it had turned away!” Eugene looked for happiness outside of God where all he found was “affliction and chagrin”. It was an essential element of conversion when he turned from being self-focused to God-focused. This refocusing of Eugene’s life is confirmed by his conscious decision as he followed with a strong commitment to make God the priority from that day forward; “What more glorious occupation than to act in everything and for everything only for God, to love him above all else, to love him all the more as one who has loved him too late.”
The Gospel message invites us to open the door to our hearts, to remove obstacles that prevent us from answering God’s call to fully refocus our life from ourselves unto God.
By Jarek Pachocki, OMI
OMI Lacombe Canada – Vocation Director