Fifth Lent: His Hour is Our Time
I would like to begin today with a story about a great Indian Christian named Sundar. Sundar had been a member of the Sikh religion, but converted to Christianity. Sundar lived in the Northernmost section of India in the Himalayan Mountains. The story is true. During the cold of winter Sundar was traveling by foot with a Buddhist monk. Their destination was a monastery high in the mountains. Suddenly, the weather changed. The temperature dropped. The journey became dangerous. Night was coming on, the weather was turning even worse. There was a very good chance that Sundar and the monk would freeze to death.
They crossed over a narrow path above a steep cliff when they heard someone calling out for help. Underneath them, another traveler had fallen, and lay deep down in a ravine. He had broken his leg. The monk warned Sundar, “Do not stop. God has brought this man to his fate. He must work it out himself. That is the tradition. We must hurry on ourselves before we die.” Sundar responded, “It is my tradition that God has brought me here to help my brother. I cannot abandon him.”
So, Sundar went down into the ravine. Meanwhile, the monk hurried on alone. When Sundar came upon the injured man he found that the man had broken his leg. He made a rudimentary sling and hauled the man onto his back. Sundar struggled, but was able to carry the man up to the path. He felt his body overheating, but he continued to carry the man. They were warmed by each other’s body. Perspiring hard, almost fainting, Sundar finally caught sight of the monastery. Then a few hundred yards away from the monastery, Sundar stumbled and fell. Sundar had fallen over the body of the dead monk who had left him. The monk had frozen to death within sight of the monastery. As he brushed the snow away from the monk’s body, Sundar remembered the words of today’s Gospel: The one who would save his life, will lose it. The one who would lose his life for my sake will find it. Sundar had been saved by doing what Jesus did: Giving over His life so others might live.
When we are united to Jesus, His hour becomes our hour. When we are united to Jesus the physical and the spiritual merge. When we are united to Jesus we participate in the life of the One who is eternal.
I am not sure that I fully appreciate what Jesus has done for me. He has given me the ability to experience His presence in others and to bring His Presence to others. He has made the spiritual real. I wish I could say to you that my life is thoroughly enmeshed with His Life, but if I did say that, I would be either lying or in heaven. The reason why this Lent is so important for me is to allow me to come to a deeper realization of His Presence in my life and in my world.
I am sure it is the same for all of you. I am sure that there are times that you are wonderfully shocked at the presence of the Lord in your lives. I am sure that you also are astounded when others tell you that they have experienced the Presence of Jesus through you. Those are the time when you and I just are delighted by His Amazing Grace.
The journey of our lives is a journey to make His Hour our Hour. I wrote about the hour in today’s bulletin. When Jesus uses the phrase, hour, He isn’t merely referring to the time of day it might be. No, He is speaking about a central moment of human history. The hour is the moment that the world will be transformed. The hour is the point of human history when spiritual life will be restored. The hour is the moment when death and evil will be defeated by Love. The hour is the moment when the mortal will receive immortality.
We are in that hour. We are the continuing Presence of the Savior in the world. This is why the purpose of our lives is to realize, to make real, the love of Christ in our homes and in our lives. We have to allow Christ’s love to direct our lives. His hour is our hour.
Sundar said: “it is my tradition that God has brought me here to help my brother.”
Jesus said, “Unless the grain of wheat falls on the ground and dies, it remains only a single grain. But if it dies, it yields a rich harvest.”
And we say, “He died for us so that we may die for Him.”
His hour is upon us.