[So Jesus said to them,
“When you lift up the Son of Man,
then you will realize that I AM,
and that I do nothing on my own,
but I say only what the Father taught me.] (Jn. 8:28)
It seems odd. Jesus claims that the Jews will recognize who He is when He is “lifted up”, when He is hung upon the cross. Yet, even before Jesus began His death march up to Calvary He was unrecognizable…
So Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple cloak. And he [Pilate] said to them, “Behold, the man!”
…even as a man. He stood with flesh shredded, blood gushing , and mocked as a king. Ironically Pilate exclaims, “Behold the man.” At this point Jesus appears to be not a man, but only a mere shadow of a man. Oddly enough this is when Jesus claims to be most recognizable. Jesus claims He will be seen as He truly is when He is accomplishing the will of His Father.
The centurion and the men with him who were keeping watch over Jesus feared greatly when they saw the earthquake and all that was happening, and they said, “Truly, this was the Son of God!” (Mt. 27:54)
We too are best recognized as who we are, most perfectly ourselves when we are accomplishing God’s will. Holiness is radiant and attractive because the beauty of God shines brightly through it. A joyful priest or a life-filled religious sister draw us into the excitement of the life of God. Loving husbands and wives devoted to each other and their children draw us into the mystery of God’s love.
As with Jesus so with us. The crosses we bear with charity amidst our vocations reveal the best versions of ourselves. We can be tempted when going through difficult times in our lives to say, “This is not what I signed up for. It shouldn’t be this tough.” However it’s precisely in these moments in which our marriage is seemingly unrecognizable as a marriage that the commitment and devotion of a marriage are most recognizable. (The is true of aall vocations.)
Jesus challenges us today to change our perspective. Instead of seeing the struggles in our lives in a purely negative light, we are to view the difficulties in our vocations as opportunities to reveal most fully the mystery of God’s love to the world.