TWENTY NINE SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
“Been there done that” is a phrase that is commonly used when we believe that we have experience about something and therefore, can speak to and about it. But all our experiences are on the human level and that is all we can speak to. We cannot say, we’ve been there done that in reference to God because, as Jesus declared: “No one has seen the Father except the one whom He sent”. There is only one person who has been there done that, both at the human level and in terms of divine experience. He is called Jesus Christ. In the second reading of this 29th Sunday in ordinary times, we read: “We have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens…one who was tempted in everyway that we are, yet never sinned” (Hebrews 4:15). What a great mediator we have; one who has been there done that when it comes to our life experiences, and who has been there done that when it comes to divine experience. No wonder Scripture says, “So let us confidently approach the throne of grace to receive mercy and to find grace for timely help” (Hebrews 4:16).
As human beings we never know temptation at its fiercest because we fall long before that stage is reached. It is like pain; there are agonies of pain we cannot know. There is a degree of pain that the human frame can stand, and when that degree is reached, a person loses consciousness. So it is with temptation. Many a time, we collapse in the face of serious temptations. The fact that Jesus was without sin means that he knew depths, tensions, and assaults of temptation that we will never be able to experience. He went through our limits of temptation, and far beyond it, and still did not collapse. So, He was tempted in all things as we are but no one has been tempted in all things as He was.
This unique experience is what makes Jesus the greatest high priest; a “God-man” and “man-God” full of sympathy, compassion, empathy, and pity for our weaknesses. When you have been there, done that, it makes all the difference and there is no part of human experience of which Jesus cannot say: "I have been there done that." So, when we have a sad and sorry tale to tell, when life is drenching us with tears, when marital strife is suffocating our relationships, when our children are problematic and developing severe problems, when friends betray our trust, when drugs and alcohol are snuggling blessings out of our lives, take the matter to Jesus in prayer. He is not one who is incapable of understanding what is going on. He knows our problems, understands the struggle, and is able to fix it because he has been there, done that. The best person to give you advice and help you through a trail is someone who has traveled that road before.
My friends, we have a serious friend in Jesus Christ; one who is willing to bear all our sins and griefs; understand our weaknesses, is compassionate with our failings and is able to forgive all; is merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in love. Do you have trials and temptations? Is there trouble everywhere? Are you tired and confused, with no relieve in sight? Are you grieving and bereaved, with no comfort around? Are you alone and lonely, with no one to lean on? Are you out of work and jobless, with no money to live on? Do not bear this pain alone anymore; take it to Jesus in prayer. We often forgo a peaceful mind and many a time bear a needless pain all because we do not take it to Jesus in prayer. Jesus knows our every weakness; let us take all things to Him in prayer. Remember, He brought God to us (Emmanuel) and, so, He can also bring us to God.