Confronting Darth Vader
Readings: Hebrews 12:4-7, 11-15; Psalms 103:1-2, 13-14, 17-18a; Mark 6:1-6
What possible connection does this have with our readings today?
Isn’t it true that, whether we like it or not, each one of us has our own Darth Vaders to face – those dark areas in our world, in our lives, in our hearts, from which we often wish we could simply run away? Yet it is our destiny to confront and to triumph over them. And, in some perhaps inexplicable way, suffering has a crucial role to play in the process. Isn’t this what the first reading is getting at when it says that suffering is part of your training? Of course, we need to realize that not all suffering is due to our own fault. Suffering afflicts the guilty and the innocent alike. And indeed it often needs to be resisted and denounced. But isn’t that also part of the process by which we are led to confront the darkness in the world and in our own hearts?
Also, in this confrontation, it is important that we resist the temptations that Luke faced in the movie. It is important that we not let feelings such as anger and disillusionment, or skepticism and despair overwhelm us. As the first reading reminds us: be careful… that no root of bitterness should begin to grow and make trouble; for then we ourselves become pawns of the very thing against which we struggle.
All this sounds very complicated and difficult. Too much for us to understand let alone carry out. Isn’t that why, especially during this period of Ordinary Time, it is important for us to let our gaze remain fixed upon Jesus as he carries out his public ministry? In a sense, he did not have to confront the darkness. He did not have to endure the painful rejection that we see him experiencing in the gospel today. He did not have to sacrifice himself. Yet he did, and for the same reason that Luke chose to confront Vader: for love -- love of us and of his heavenly Father.
How are we being led to confront our own Darth Vaders and so play our part in the salvation of the Galaxy today?