The Lord’s ways are simply not our ways of doing things. God likes to switch things around. Just imagine if God were only fair. Jesus goes to Jerusalem where he himself will be consumed by the jealousy and hatred of leaders, who refuse to see clearly that he is of God. They will spit on him and scourge and crucify him. But from the cross he will not condemn but forgive them. We might imagine what Jesus could have groaned from the cross - “This is so unfair.” Unfair indeed, but he never says anything of the kind. He never reproaches us. Instead while all the while trusting in his Abba’s love, he says only “I thirst;” he forgives his torturers, gives us his Mother, promises Paradise and cries out to his Father in desperation and trust. And finally he gives over his spirit, empties himself for us. God in Christ gives himself away to death and so reverses everything. Death is foiled. Our freedom is assured. God’s mercy triumphs; God gets to do things his way. Jesus swallows all the unfairness and replaces it with the tender mercy of his wounded risen body. He has promised each one whatever is just as payment, and in his divine economy this is always infinitely more than we deserve - his very Self, his sacred heart, his precious body and blood, which we may receive each day at his table. The best we can do is simply, joyfully, gratefully receive the Gift.
Detail of the carved border on the high altar of the Abbey church, photographed by Brother Brian.