Monday, February 1, 2021

Because we are human, every action that we do has a meaning to it. Some have deeper and more lasting impact than others, but it never is without meaning.

“But it didn’t mean anything!” 

Have you ever found yourself giving this as a response when you were asked why you did something that was considered bad or hurtful, whether to yourself or to another human being?  It is often used when we are sometimes cornered by undeniable evidence, almost like as if the hand was caught in the cookie jar.  We know that it would be useless and pointless to explain ourselves out of the situation, so we clutch at straws.  And the most convenient straw, apart from the senseless one which is “I don’t know”, is this one.  We excuse ourselves by saying “oh, but it didn’t mean anything.”  


There has to be much more that we can say because we are human beings endowed with intellect.  It is self-negating because it dumbs down our God-given intellect, which makes every human action a moral action.  We are not automatons who act with no intention or awareness of what we are doing, unless we are in some somnambulistic state, which would mean that we were not free to make informed choices or decision for our actions.  But more to it, at the heart of it, we are accountable for every one of our actions in life.  Practicing the habit of being articulate about our choices and decisions prepares us for the readiness for our judgment that we will inevitably have to face at the end of our lives when we face Jesus.  We may get away with an “I don’t know” or “it didn’t mean anything” while we are on this side of heaven, but after we breathe our last, this will not be something that we can use to either explain away our actions or to self-exonerate any sins.  We will see ourselves for who we are and our actions for the ramifications they caused.


In this life, we may want to quell the heartaches and feelings of not being faithful to our word by telling those we had hurt that “it didn’t mean anything”. But those words end up hurting even more, because behind those hollow words is the truth that the relationship that was cherished which those actions shattered also didn’t mean much. Especially when there is an infidelity that has broken a vow or a covenant, those words aren’t only a sword that pierces the heart, but twists the blade as well.


Betrayal is always painful, and we cannot say that God doesn’t know how it hurts.  In an imaginary meditation for Good Friday, I was told that a priest once gave a very short and succinct reflection for the congregation to meditate on.  He activated the imagination of the faithful in the church by having them imagine Jesus going before his heavenly Father after dying on the Cross, and the Father asking Jesus which part of the passion was most painful and hurtful for him.  He asked whether it was the crown of thorns, or whether it was the nails that pierced his hands and feet, or the many scourges that rent his back and tore his flesh.  Jesus said it was none of those.  


What hurt most, what was most painful, and what cut to the core of his being, was really the kiss that Judas planted on his cheek.  


Imagine Judas being asked at his judgment “why Judas, did you hand me over with a kiss?” to which Judas replying with a nonchalant “but it didn’t mean anything”.  




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