Monday, 13 September 2021

Jesus and R.E.M.

Often in preaching, especially at Sunday Mass, I like to try and explore what happens in the Gospel passage from a human point of view. What was it like to be there? What was Jesus thinking or feeling? What was everybody else doing and thinking? What can we now learn from that? The great St Teresa of Avila said something about how we can only come to know the divinity of Jesus through his humanity.


Yesterday we heard Jesus ask the apostles who people were thinking he was, and then who the apostles themselves thought he was. Now as one commentator pointed out, we all want people we love to know us well. Jesus loved them, so he wants them to know him well. He loves us too, and so he wants us to know him personally too. 

Another commentator observed that "we probably all find it easier to tell people who we think they are, than to actually listen to them and find out who they really are! Finding out who the other person truly is, requires listening, walking together, sharing, helping and being open to see the other person’s fragility and hurt. In doing so, we participate in our friends’ brokenness. And that is exactly why Jesus offered Himself for us: He broke the bread for the broken people we all are…" (Patrick van der Vorst).

So much can be going on behind the eyes. R.E.M were an impressive American band who were at their most commercially successful in the early 1990s, though they only broke up ten years ago. One of their most popular songs was "Everybody Hurts", and it is accompanied by a video reflecting this theme. In some ways it was not a characteristic song of theirs, but it has touched a nerve for many people.


When your day is long  And the night, the night is yours alone
When you're sure you've had enough of this life, 
well hang on 
Don't let yourself go
'Cause everybody cries 
Everybody hurts sometimes
Sometimes everything is wrong
Now it's time to sing along
When your day is night alone (hold on, hold on)
If you feel like letting go (hold on)
If you think you've had too much
Of this life, well hang on
'Cause everybody hurts
Take comfort in your friends
Everybody hurts
Don't throw your hand, oh no
Don't throw your hand
If you feel like you're alone
No, no, no, you are not alone
If you're on your own in this life
The days and nights are long
When you think you've had too much
Of this life to hang on
Well, everybody hurts sometimes
Everybody cries
Everybody hurts, sometimes
And everybody hurts sometimes
So hold on, hold on, hold on....
Everybody hurts

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