Being forgotten, snubbed, ridiculed
and derided, pushed aside and discarded as an object, being the butt of a
sarcastic joke, treated as a buffoon, forced into oblivion, treated as if
valueless—all of the above have one thing in common: rejection!
Strange and shocking as it may seem,
the Son of the Eternal Father, the Wisdom of God, the Logos/Word through whom
the whole world was created, the Master and Teacher of the world, Jesus
Himself, suffered constant, painful and unthinkable rejections. Rejected not
once or twice, but during the whole course of His life, Jesus most willingly
submitted to the will of His heavenly Father: “Father, If it be possible, let
this cup pass me by; however, not my will by your will be done.”
A most fruitful and efficacious
meditation/contemplation especially in the context of Holy Week, would be to
call to mind, pray over and plumb the depths of the REJECTIONS of Jesus. The Imitation of Christ, Thomas Kempis,
highlights the fact the entirety of the Life of Christ, from cross to tomb was
a cross. A clear manifestation of the cross is the reality of REJECTIONS! Let
us prayerfully contemplate Our Lord’s rejections.
Before delving into Jesus’
rejections, it must be emphasized the fact that Jesus willingly suffered
rejections to submit to the will of His Heavenly Father, but also because of
His great love for you and me! Paradoxically stated, Jesus willingly underwent
constant rejection so that we could be received by Him now and for all
eternity! How great is the love of Jesus
even in His humiliating rejections for love of you and me.
Furthermore, when we suffer
rejections, and this is part and parcel of life, we can unite our rejections to
Jesus and these painful situations can be a source of infinite growth in
holiness! Indeed Jesus was wounded for our sakes and by His wounds we are
BETHLEHEM. St. Joseph travelled with his pregnant wife
Mary to Bethlehem, the city of David. Upon arriving, the entire Holy Family was
rejected. Joseph knocked at the door and there was no room for Joseph, or Mary,
or Jesus in the Inn. (Jn. 1:11) In a certain sense we can even state that Jesus
experienced the pain of the aborted babies. Because in this rejection Jesus was
not yet born, but in the womb of Mary and indeed He was rejected! May the
rejected unborn Jesus convert us from the evil of rejecting unborn babies
PROPHECY OF SIMEON. One of
the seven Sorrows of the Blessed Virgin Mary is the Prophecy of Simeon. As the
elderly prophet holds the Child Jesus in his arms he utters a prophecy of
Mary’s future sufferings, but also the future rejection of Jesus, with these
words: “Behold, this child is destined
for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be
contradicted (and you yourself a sword will pierce) so that the thoughts of
many hearts will be revealed.(Lk. 2: 34-35) This sign of contradiction
would be the contradiction of the cross bars on Calvary.
FLIGHT INTO EGYPT.(Mt. 2:13-18) Moved by the ugly spirit of envy, insecurity,
and a desire to dominate and rule, King Herod sets out on a rampage to kill all
of the innocent male-children two years and younger. His intention was not only
to reject Jesus, worse yet, to slaughter him. Imagine the fear and terror that
must have invaded the heart of Mary as well as St. Joseph as they flee to a
foreign country to save the life of their innocent Child. In all of these
rejections Jesus purposely submits to them to accomplish the will of His
heavenly Father, but also for our sanctification and salvation. How grateful we
should be for Our Lords’ love for us even in His bitter rejections!
FIRST PREACHINGS.(Lk. 4:16-30) Jesus
returns to His home town after His Baptism and temptations and preaches. He
levels His message against them and their hardness of heart. Cut to the depths
of their proud and resistant hearts, they purposely force Jesus out of the
synagogue and lead Him to the brow of the hill with the intention to throw Him
headlong and end with Him. Jesus for His part walked through their midst
because His hour had not yet come! How often in the lives of God’s friends, the
saints, they have received bitter treatment and rejection for the simple reason
that they preached the truth!
JEWISH HIGH PRIESTS.(Mt 27:41-42) Given that Jesus had no formal training as
did many of the Scribes and Pharisees, given that Jesus came from an
unimportant place called “Nazareth”, given that Jesus’ parents were simple
people, his father a mere-carpenter, several of the High priests took offense
and were scandalized by Jesus. This young man, son of a carpenter, had developed
a huge following; many people loved Him and especially the poor and rejected of
society and His preaching were so inspiring that multitudes would follow Him.
Filled with envy, that led to anger and even fury, their only solution was to
reject Jesus and to have Jesus put to death.
HIS FRIENDS. (Mt. 26:31-35) Jesus
chose a small band of followers called the Apostles. He chose them to be His
followers, collaborators, but especially His dear friends. “I call you friends…”
As Scripture points out they failed Him. This failure on their part can be put
in the category of rejection. At the Last Supper Jesus said that the Shepherd
would be struck and the sheep scattered and they would all leave Him alone,
abandon Him. They all protested as to their faithfulness. Upon Jesus’ arrest
they fled. Jesus knew it and prophesied it, but still this must have pained the
Heart of Jesus.
PETER’S TRIPLE DENIAL. (Mt.26: 69-75)
Peter professes his faithfulness, but Jesus makes the prophecy that before the
cock crows Peter would deny Him three times. After Jesus arrest, Peter drags
his feet; warms himself by the fire and three times, the future Prince of the
Apostles denies that he even knows Jesus. This was a rejection on the part of
Jesus’ good friend Peter. Of course later one Peter would reaffirm his love for
Jesus three times. Nonetheless, this does not negate the fact that Peter did
deny Jesus three times, a form of rejection. Indeed the rejection on the part
of loved ones can be the most piercing and painful.
JUDAS BETRAYS JESUS. (Mt. 26: 20-25)
Another painful rejection was on the part of Judas Iscariot. Jesus chose Judas
not to be a traitor, but to be an Apostle and friend. Moved by greed and having
fallen out of love for Jesus, Judas willingly decides to reject Jesus for
thirty pieces of silver—the price that was paid to purchase a slave in the
times of Jesus.
PONTIUS PILATE. (Mt. 27:15-26) We pray in the Creed at every Sunday Mass
that Jesus was crucified under Pontius Pilate. Pilate indeed was a coward as
well as a “people-pleaser” rather than a “God-pleaser”. His wife Claudia had a
dream in which God revealed to her that Jesus was indeed innocent. Even with
this forewarning from God through his wife, Pontius Pilate rejected Jesus and
sentenced Jesus to death by means of the cruelest, and most humiliating means
of the crucifixion.
10. GOD THE FATHER.(Mt.
27:46) One of the most mysterious
passages in all of Sacred Scripture is one of the seven last words that Jesus
uttered as He hung on the cross: “My God, My God, why have your forsaken me.” Jesus was quoting from Psalm 21. How could it
be that Jesus felt as if He were even abandoned by His loving Father??? How
curious! How mysterious! How painful!
How extraordinary! The Son of God
willingly experienced the distance of His loving Father in the bitter moments
of His passion, shortly before Jesus will breathe forth His spirit into the
hands of His loving Father!
When all is said and done, it would
be remiss on our part if we did not make a modern application to the present
rejections of Our Lord and savior Christ! Many are the definitions that we
could offer for what sin indeed is. However, related to our present topic, a
very pertinent and apropos definition of sin could be the following: “Sin is
rejecting the love of the Heart of the Father for us.” This rejection can be
partial or total. Partial rejection would be venial sin; total rejection would
be that of mortal sin.
It might be easy to point the finger
at the many people who rejected Jesus during the course of His brief Public
life which lasted about three years. However,
every time somebody willingly misses Mass on Sunday, commits adultery or
fornication, views pornography, abuses drugs by taking or selling, and many
other serious sins, the rejection of Jesus is perpetuated!
Our desire should be to repair for
the many rejections of Jesus, 2000 years ago, during the course of the past
2000 years up to the present. I would humbly like to offer five simple ways
that we can console the rejected and sorrowful Hearts of Jesus and Mary.
NO TO SIN! Let us make a firm proposal in our lives to
fight against sin in our lives. Indeed by saying “No” to sin we are saying “No”
to the cycle of rejections of Jesus and “yes” to His love and Friendship!
READING: CONSOLING THE HEART OF JESUS. Why not find some time to read and meditate
the spiritual masterpiece of Father Michael Gaitley on “Consoling the Heart of Jesus”.
This spiritual masterpiece and best-seller can offer you abundant food
for thought and practical ways on how we can avoid rejecting Jesus, repair for
those who reject Jesus and crown Jesus as the King of our hearts!
LOVE AND DEVOTION TO OUR LADY—MOTHER OF
DIVINE MERCY! Many have been the
rejections of Jesus for hundreds and even thousands of years. However, there
was one person that God created who never once, not even in the smallest way
ever rejected Jesus even in the slightest way: this was His Immaculate Mother
Mary! Get to know Mary; cultivate devotion to Mary; love Mary; make Mary known
and loved. She will always bring us to the Heart of Jesus and help us to reject
Jesus less and receive and love Him all the more! Sweet Heart of Mary be my salvation!
HOLY HOUR OF REPARATION. Another superb practice that we can undertake
to counteract the rejections of Jesus would be to make a Holy Hour of
Reparation. Spend an hour before the Eucharistic Lord Jesus, and read through
the following rejections in Sacred Scripture, present rejections of Jesus due
to sin and even your own past rejections due to personal sin and console the
Heart of Jesus. Tell Jesus how much you love Him, how much it pains your own
heart to contemplate Hos many rejections. Then promise the Lord Jesus that you
will try to imitate Our Lady in saying “yes” to His love always starting right
MASS AND HOLY COMMUNION. Finally, and
not of least importance is the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and the reception of
Holy Communion. By far the greatest gesture that a human person can carry out
is to receive Jesus (not reject Him) in the worthy reception of Holy Communion.
Holy Communion is truly and substantially the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity
of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. How many Catholics today reject Jesus in
the context of Mass and Holy Communion! Many Catholics no longer attend Holy
Mass, thereby rejecting Him. Many have changed religions, thereby rejecting
Him. Others attend Holy Mass but neither receive Him nor even pay attention to
what is transpiring in Holy Mass—this is rejecting Jesus. Worse yet, there are
many Catholics who approach the Eucharistic Lord and receive Jesus in the state
of mortal sin and as such they are rejecting Jesus and crucifying Him again.
For this reason we must form and army of zealous and ardent lovers of the Mass
and the Eucharistic Lord to receive Him with a burning love, a burning passion,
a lively faith and limitless confidence. This indeed will console the rejected
Heart of Jesus beyond the mind can possibly comprehend. Let us all receive
Jesus with love starring right now so that Jesus will receive us into Heaven
for all eternity!