Sunday, June 2, 2013

I THIRST

Hunger and thirst are two very common human experiences all of us can relate to, and it is no wonder that Christ in instituting the sacrament of the Eucharist provided us with the way to satiate our ultimate thirst and hunger.  But it is those words on the cross that keep reverberating throughout history and that continue to echo in the hearts of all human beings "I THIRST."  Those two brief words have been the source of many inspirations and even spiritual paths within the Church, we cannot forget how those simple words inspired Mother Teresa to establish some of the pillars of her newly founded religious congregation, so much that even nowadays in every religious chapel of her congregation those words are inscribed in the wall right next to the crucifix to remind her nuns of the centrality of those simple words.  But what do they mean?  It is certainly not possible to fully describe their meaning, but my attempt here is to provide some glimpses into their meaning.  First of all, the most obvious meaning is that of a physical experience of thirst.  Jesus certainly experienced that on the cross, as he has lost so much blood, and as the words of the Psalm (22) remind us: "My mouth is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth;  you lay me in the dust of death. "  This is the same thirst Jesus experienced when he met the Samaritan woman, "When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, “Will you give me a drink?” (His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.)"  

But as we know the thirst of Jesus was beyond the physical thirst, it was a thirst for communion with us, a thirst born out of love for us, a love that we cannot even comprehend, a thirst for a well being and for our salvation, a thirst for union with us, a thirst to satisfy the yearning and thirsts of our restless heart, knowing very well like St. Augustine well expressed it once, "You have made us for yourself, Oh Lord, and our heart is restless until it rests in you."  Jesus had a deep thirst for you and for me, a thirst for our happiness, a thirst to save us from our self-centeredness, a thirst to save us from our ignorance and lead us into the way of truth, a thirst for justice, a thirst to restore justice and peace,"Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for justice, for they will be satisfied,"  a thirst to satiate our deepest thirst, as he answered the Samaritan woman, "Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water,” and later on Jesus continues"whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”  But what is this water that Jesus speaks about?  In John 7, Jesus says, "Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.”[c] 39 By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified."  Jesus thirst to share His Holy Spirit with us, the Spirit is the superabundant grace of God, like flowing rivers that no heart could ever exhaust, this is the living gift of God to all those who believe and welcome Him.  

And because Jesus thirsts to share His very self with us, he can also be said to be thirsting for our love as Mother Teresa would often say.  There is Jesus in the tabernacle, waiting for us so to speak, thirsting to be corresponded in a finite way to His infinite love, and for that reason Jesus would exclaim in his fourth apparition to Saint Margaret Mary,  "Behold the Heart which has so loved men that it has spared nothing, even to exhausting and consuming Itself, in order to testify Its love; and in return, I receive from the greater part only ingratitude, by their irreverence and sacrilege, and by the coldness and contempt they have for Me in this Sacrament of Love. But what I feel most keenly is that it is hearts which are consecrated to Me, that treat Me thus." Jesus thirsts for your love and mine.

And yet there is at least another thirst in the heart of Jesus that is the "raison the etre" of the other thirsts, for is an existential thirst, a thirst for life, a thirst for love, a THIRST FOR THE FATHER, in His humanity Jesus had a thirst to worship the Father in all things, Jesus had a thirst to obey the Father and to love His will, His deeper thirst was to glorify the Father and love Him with His whole being, Psalm 42 expresses this experience " As the deer yearns for streams of water, so my soul yearns for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?" 
And it is on the cross that Jesus expresses this thirst in its more substantial meaning.  Jesus' thirst for the Father, is expressed clearly at that moment, but this thirst for the Father does not stop there, Jesus also wants to share His thirst with us, He wants to unite us with Him in His thirst, to have the same desires and love for the Father, to have the same desires to worship Him in all things and through all things, and it is because of that reason that Jesus has left us the sacrifice of the Mass, Jesus wants to unite us with Him also in Calvary, and for that reason the priest at the end of the eucharistic prayer says raising the paten and the chalice "With Him, in Him and through Him....," at that moment we have the opportunity to join our sentiments to those of Christ, and by entering into communion with Him, we can also experience the same thirst that bursts from His Sacred Heart.   Jesus wants to transform our hearts into sacred hearts that thirst equally to glorify the Father, that not only look at the Father as the source of life, as the source of our existence in whom he move, operate, and have our being, but as the very reason and goal of our existence, that is, we have to thirst existentially to be in union with Him for all eternity, to enter into that Trinitarian life and share the love and and life of God forever.

Dear Jesus, I want to love you more deeply, increase my thirst for you, increase my thirst to spend time with you and to receive as often as I can the most holy sacrament of the Eucharist.  Jesus increase in me that thirst for the Father, increase in me that thirst to do His will and to love Him above all things, to seek only His glory and not my own, to trust in His ways and not my ways.  Jesus increase my thirst for the living waters of your Spirit, help me to be worthy of receiving that pure water in the vessel of my heart, and help me to never seek to satiate my thirst with anything that does not conform to your perfect will.  When I thirst let it be for You alone Lord. Amen.



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