At the beginning of the Holy Week...

I had heard the story before and I must say, I enjoyed it every time I read it.
Wish you a blessed Holy Week

In his essay "The Signature of Jesus," Brennan Manning passes on the story of an elderly man who meditated every morning under a big tree on the bank of the Ganges River (Multnomah Pub., 1996). One morning, after he had finished praying, the man opened his eyes and saw a scorpion floating helplessly in the water. As the scorpion washed nearer to the tree, the man quickly stretched himself out on one of the long roots that extended over the river and reached out to save the drowning creature. As soon as he touched it, the scorpion stung him. Instinctively, the man withdrew his hand. A few moments later, when he had regained his balance, he stretched himself again on the tree roots to save the foundering scorpion. Again, the scorpion stung him. This time the sting was so severe that the man's hand became swollen and bloody and his face contorted with pain.

At that very moment, a passerby saw the old man stretched out on the tree root, still struggling with the uncooperative scorpion. He shouted, "Hey, stupid old man, what's the matter with you? Only a fool would risk his life for the sake of an ugly, evil creature! Don't you know you could kill yourself trying to save that ungrateful scorpion?"

At that, the old man turned and, looking directly into his detractor's eyes, calmly replied, "My friend, just because it is in the scorpion's nature to sting, that does not change the fact that it is in my nature to save."

With this old tale in mind, we turn to the sacred texts of this most holy week in order to remember and celebrate that it is in God's nature to love, to forgive, to heal, protect and save. Even when human beings do what is wrong or selfish or downright evil, God's nature does not change. It is in the very nature of God to reach out with the gift of reconciliation; it is the very essence of God's nature to save. This we know because the nature of our God has been eloquently revealed in the person and through the mission of Jesus. Although he was God, Jesus emptied himself of all he was and all he had so as to effect the salvation of sinners. Without a thought for his own well-being, Jesus became as we are for our sakes. For us, he humbly and willingly died an ignominious death, thereby revealing how completely invested God is in the human condition (Philippians, second reading).

Continue reading here:

The nature of God
Patricia Datchuck Sánchez

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Bishop of the Diocese of Manzini (Swaziland)

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