Tonight (Saturday) at the Vigil Mass we had the reading of St. Luke’s Passion narrative for the Gospel of Passion/Palm Sunday. I’ve done this for fifteen years, but tonight, some of the words from St. Luke struck a new meaning for me.
“Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me;
weep instead for yourselves and for your children
for indeed, the days are coming when people will say,
‘Blessed are the barren,
the wombs that never bore
and the breasts that never nursed.’
At that time people will say to the mountains,
‘Fall upon us!’
and to the hills, ‘Cover us!’
for if these things are done when the wood is green
what will happen when it is dry?”
Have we begun to reach those times? Are not barren wombs much more in desire today? Don’t we treat our fertility like a disease to be prevented at all costs? If a couple has too many children, people scold them – sometimes in a teasing manner, and sometimes not – and let them know that their choice of embracing their fertility is not something that is in fashion any more. We bless and extol the virtues to those who do the reasonable thing and choose to be barren.
And we tell our elderly and sick to go let mountains fall on them. They are used up, they are of no more economic worth, they are just a drain on resources, especially medical resources. So we use names to cover up suicide, and euthanasia, and we call it compassion as we vote it into law in our states and in our country.
The wood of our society is certainly green. We have a higher standard of living than at any point in our past. We are more than capable of caring for children, and for reaching out to those who do not have someone to care for them. Yet if we look at children as a disease now, when things are so fertile and blessed, what will happen if we truly face a dire, worldwide catastrophe? If human life is valued so little now, what will the future hold?
All this flashed through my mind as I was reading the Gospel, and I thanked the Lord for letting me find new meaning in a familiar passage.