|By Fr. Brendan McGuire
Pastor of Holy Spirit Parish, San Jose and Vicar General for special projects, Diocese of San Jose. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Full Price for Everyone
There was once a young boy who went to the pet store to adopt a dog. He asked the attendant, “How much is it for one of those dogs?” The attendant responded, “They are $50 or more depending on the size.” The boy dug his hand into his pocket and pulled out $1.47 and said, “Is this enough for the small one?” But the attendant said, “No. It’s not. You are going to have to save up and then come back.”
The boy was dejected and started to walk away when he saw the other attendant coming out with a scrawny little dog that limped badly. The boy’s eyes lit up and he said, “How much for that dog?” And the attendant said, “That dog is really not for sale. He has a bad leg and will never be able to run properly; he is missing its hip socket.”
The boy said, “He is perfect for me. I want him.” The attendant said, “If you want him, it is yours for free.” But the boy protested saying, “He is worth $50 just like all the others. I will give $ .50 a week until I pay it off.” The man was confused and says, “Why would you want this dog? He will not be able to run.” The boy pulls up one leg of his pants and shows the attendant his own leg which was twisted from birth with a big metal brace holding it straight. He says, “I’m not too good at running myself. We won’t be able to run together!” He took the dog home.1
Jesus becomes human because God treasures every one of us and he will pay full price for us. No discount for the disabled human being. God pays the full price with Christ. Lent is a time for us to remind ourselves of this powerful message of Christ.
In today’s scripture, we hear how Jesus is in the desert and is subject to Satan’s temptations. Jesus became one of us so that we would know that he took on the fullness of the human condition and was subject to the same temptations as we are. He showed us the way through them.
The critical phrase here is “…the angels ministered to him.” God does not leave us alone in the desert. God does not leave us in those darkest moments of our lives to fend for ourselves. God did not do it to Christ and he most certainly is not going to do that to us.
Lent is a time to refocus on the message of Christ and allow his angels to minister to us. Lent presents an opportunity for us to see God in all things, to recognize that we are all valued by God, especially the wounded and broken.
There is no one that is crippled or broken in any way for whom Christ is not willing to pay the full price. We are God’s children, every single one of us. May we submit to the Spirit who allows us to recognize value of every single human life including our own.
1 Adapted from Patricia Datchuck Sanchez, “Celebration: An Ecumenical Worship Resource,” (Kansas City, Missouri: National Catholic Reporter Company, Inc., February 26, 2012).