5th Sunday of Lent,
In the Possession of Christ Jesus (Fr. Bill)
All great saints “have indeed been taken possession of by Christ Jesus.” (St Paul in 1st reading) This is how they lived in extraordinary holiness in this world – and is how they live forever in the extraordinary joy of Heaven. Thus it becomes vitally important to know what ‘to be taken possession of by Christ Jesus’ means.
Right from the start know that Jesus will not take possession of us by force or deceit or any other treachery; only Satan does that. We must give ourselves to Jesus to be His possession. He will always accept that gift of self and is eager for it. This is one of the amazing teachings in today’s gospel about the woman caught in the act of adultery. Jesus is always eager to receive the gift of self from us, even when that gift is stained with sin.
Zill Bamborsky was a Romanian tightrope walker. His death-defying feats on the high wire had earned him a worldwide reputation of dauntless daring – and the name, Zill the Thrill. This story about Zill illustrates what giving ourselves over to the possession of Jesus Christ requires.
Zill was performing at a circus. Two towers, each one hundred feet high, had been erected and secured. The high wire was fastened between the two. At the scheduled time Zill climbed one of the towers, took hold of his balance pole and casually walked across the high wire while introducing himself. When he crossed from one tower to the other the people cheered and Zill asked them, “Do you think I can cross without the balance pole?” The loud cheer that went up from the crowd was the affirmation he sought and he crossed as casually as before. He then asked if they thought he could cross blindfolded. Again, they cheered him on. As he crossed this time a cautious silence fell upon the crowd, but upon the completion of the crossing they broke into wild applause and cheering. Zill next suggested the possibility of crossing the high wire blindfolded, and pushing a wheelbarrow. The crowd, intoxicated with Zill’s daring and skill, never let up on the thunderous cheering as he crossed once more. Zill waited for the applause to subside. When it did, he lifted the corner of his blindfold to see the crowd, and they once again started to cheer. Zill asked them, “Do you think I can cross this wire blindfolded, pushing a wheelbarrow, with one of my assistants in it?” The cheering rose with each word he spoke until it must have knocked on the very doors of Heaven. Zill paused until the cheering once again began to subside whereupon he shouted out, “Who will volunteer to be that assistant?” And the crowd fell silent.
When you get into that wheelbarrow with Jesus at the controls (and what an adventure that will be), you will be in the possession of Jesus Christ; you will live in extraordinary holiness; and you will be headed in the direction of all the great saints.