These are not the words of a doctor to a heart-broken spouse; these are God’s words to you, right now.
These are Jesus’ last days. He’s got less than three weeks. To be more precise, He has less than three weeks until Good Friday, until the day he dies.
Let’s look at Lent, with this perspective, through the eyes of Mary, Jesus, and us.
First: Mary’s. She didn’t hear anyone say, as clearly as a doctor would, that he’s only got a limited amount of time left, but I can bet that she felt it. She had read the Scriptures; she knew that the Messiah was to suffer. She had probably been preparing herself ever since he was born, or ever since their flight into Egypt. But this didn’t necessarily make it any easier. Imagine the day that some of the disciples shared with her what he had spoken of, or maybe she was even there, hearing his words. That must have certainly been a sword in her heart. So, let’s say that she was expecting some sort of death to come in the near future. How would this change how she would look at her son? I leave that open for you to talk to her about. The only thing I want to mention is that when I pray about that, I not only see how she looks at Jesus, but how she looks at me. Throughout his last days, I can see her caring for me, as His wife (or best friend) just as much as she would care for him… and he would smile at her with a glance that says “yes, please take care of her in my last days and onwards”…
Next: Jesus. I read a book that helped me to imagine what Jesus must have been going through in these weeks before his passion. It was the story of the last days of Blessed Pier Georgio Frassati. Similar to Jesus, he knew he was dying, but no one else did. His family even joked with him about not getting out of bed and sometimes complained about having to take care of him… He was lying there practically paralyzed, watching everyone coming and going from his room unaware of what was really going on. His sister- who wrote the book- said that looking back on it, she realized that some of the little actions he would make and even some of the sounds, were his way of saying “stay a little longer”, “say a little more” not because he wanted the attention, but because he craved their love and presence and relished it because he knew it was fleeting. But he harbored no resentment. He was always smiling. I can imagine the weight on Jesus’ shoulder- we see some of it in the Garden- and yet how he put aside all thoughts of himself and kept giving and giving. He lived those last days to the full. And then he was gone. His family and friends shocked, saying “If only we had known”.
Now it’s our turn: Contrary to the disciples, we do know. We have heard very clearly that he has 40 days, that he has even fewer. And we can choose what do with that time. I will share what my resolution has been, but then it is your turn. I have tried and will keep trying to spend as much time as I can with him. What are the little things that I have to get done, if I know that they will still be around but He will not be? Also, I have tried to see things in perspective. If I had someone dying, before my eyes, what would really matter? Life and death would make everything else so much smaller. And lastly, I have tried to RELISH the moments we have had together- isn’t that something someone does in these kind of moments? Doesn’t all that they have been given become an even greater gift, to be treasured?
To end, I give you just one more scene to imagine, relating to this last point I just mentioned. Let’s say that you and Jesus are sitting together. You bring up a favorite moment you have had together… and practically relive it. You tell each other all the details and it comes back to you like it was yesterday. There is such a joy on his face. The weight of his impending death is lifted a little. The clouds part and there is sunshine for a little while. He is grateful. This can also be Lent. Just because he has so few days, doesn’t mean there has to be only sadness. Let’s live them so close to him, filling His days with all our love and attention.