I slept longer than usual last night and woke in a fog. Showered, shaved, and quickly dressed, I hopped into my car to dash to Mass and—dang! No juice—left the lights on yesterday afternoon! I asked my wife for her keys, walked to her car, and promptly stepped in dog poop. I didn’t realize this until I had smeared the stuff on the rug of her better-than-average car and got a whiff.
I had time only to grab a used paper towel from her glove compartment and wipe both rug and shoe unsatisfactorily before running up the steps and into church for 7am Mass.
According to the Gospel reading, Our Lord was having a worse day than I was.
The Jews picked up rocks to stone Jesus. . . .
Jesus answered his assailants and tried to teach them.
Then they tried again to arrest him;
but he escaped from their power.
He went back across the Jordan
to the place where John first baptized, and there he remained.
Many came to him and said,
“John performed no sign,
but everything John said about this man was true.”
And many there began to believe in him.
Our pastor often picks up on small details in the Gospel reading, and he did so today. He noted that many of us live in distress, and in today’s reading Jesus is clearly in distress. So what does Jesus do? He goes “back across the Jordan to the place where John first baptized”—which is to say, the place Jesus was baptized by John. “And there he remained.”
I listened from the same pew I have occupied almost every weekday for the past three years. I felt the fog begin to clear. Our pastor noted that in a week’s time, at Easter, we will be invited to reaffirm our baptismal vows, in a way like Jesus in today’s Gospel.
It is three years since I was received into the Church, and it is always new, even sitting in the same pew—indeed, maybe because I sit in the same pew. I too “remain.” Every morning’s Mass is a little Easter, and as I left the Church my cell phone rang with good news from a loved one whom I don’t see often enough.
I didn’t even notice the smell when I got back behind the wheel of my wife’s better-than-average car.