The Cross

Following Christ – Meditation of the Studies in the Gospel of Luke

Following Christ – Meditation of the Studies in the Gospel of Luke

Towards the end of Luke 9 we are told that Jesus’ “set his face toward Jerusalem.” It is, according to Green, a phrase that evokes an austere determination to go to the very place where he would suffer rejection and ultimately [death]…But he did not go to Jerusalem to die; he went to fulfill with the whole of his life the divine purpose, which was to bring life, healing and redemption to the whole of creation (see Hebrews 12:2).

We are all called to set our face towards to Jerusalem—to seek to fulfill the divine purpose through the whole of our lives…But we do not do so for the sake of death; we do so for the sake of Life, and Abundant Life, at that.

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Wounded for Our Transgressions – Meditation for Good Friday

Wounded for Our Transgressions – Meditation for Good Friday

To Jesus’ disciples, the crucifixion must have seemed at first like a pointless tragedy or, as Benedict XVI has said, “an inexplicable fact that placed his entire message and his whole meaning in question” (Jesus of Nazareth, Part II, p.202) It must have seemed an ignominious and utter failure. From the event itself, what else could they think? Yet, in a few short days everything changed and that which must have seemed devoid of meaning became the most significant event in the history of the world.

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Robbing the Cross – First Reading in Preparation for the Twenty Ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Robbing the Cross – First Reading in Preparation for the Twenty Ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time

I do not know why I am so enamored with the sentence. “He shall see the fruit of his travail of his soul and be satisfied”, but I am. Perhaps it is the Holy Spirit. I only know that I want to do everything in my power to see that Christ is not robbed of the satisfaction that should by rights be his because he “poured out his soul to death. I want his cross to have its full effect in my life, convicting me of my sin, convincing me of his love, covering my sin with his blood, and converting me to “live for him who died for me”. I do not want to ever minimize the cross nor my response to it. Instead, I pray that the cross of Christ will always be in my heart, on my mind, and governing my actions. I want him, when he looks at me, to be able to see” the fruit of the travail of his soul and be satisfied.”

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Compelled by Love – Second Reading in Preparation for the Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Compelled by Love  – Second Reading in Preparation for the Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time

“The gospel…is the announcement of a love that has changed the world, a love that therefore takes the people who find themselves loved like this and sends them off to live and work in a totally new way. The energy to get up and go on as a Christian, as one who works for the gospel, therefore comes not from a cold sense of duty, not from fear of being punished if you don’t do your bit, but from the warm-hearted response of love to the love which has reached out, reached down, and reached you.”(Paul For Everyone: II Corinthians, Tom Wright, p.62)

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Called to Remember – Gospel in Preparation for the Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Called to Remember – Gospel in Preparation for the Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time

So we are called to remember, in fact to never forget, even on Easter Sunday itself, that Jesus is “the good shepherd. A good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” But such a memory does not diminish the joy of Easter and the knowledge of the resurrection. Rather, it deepens and enhances it. The two, crucifixion and resurrection belong inseparably together. So shall it be in heaven where our resurrected Lord appears as “a Lamb standing as though it had been slain” whom the hosts of heaven worship “saying with a loud voice, ‘Worthy is the Lamb who was slain to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and blessing.’” (Revelation 5:6,12)

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The Fount of Mercy – Gospel for Good Friday of The Lord’s Passion

The Fount of Mercy – Gospel for Good Friday of The Lord’s Passion

From the moment Jesus was lanced by the soldier’s spear, pouring blood and water from his pierced heart, we have recognized that it was from this very wound that the promised fount of mercy flowed. This wound immediately became the most graphic image of everything that He accomplished for us on the cross: his body given and his blood poured out “for us and for our salvation”.

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Wounded for Our Transgressions – First Reading in Preparation for Good Friday of the Lord’s Passion

Wounded for Our Transgressions – First Reading in Preparation for Good Friday of the Lord’s Passion

Among these great passages which reveal the meaning of the crucifixion, two stand out above them all: Psalm 22, the beginning of which Jesus quoted from the Cross (“My God, My God, Why have you forsaken me?”) and our passage for today, Isaiah 52-53, the glorious song of God’s Suffering Servant. In Psalm 22 we receive an actual moment by moment account of what Jesus endured ( “…all my bones are out of joint; my heart is melted like wax…they divide my garments among the, and for my raiment they cast lots….”). In Isaiah, though, we see why he endured it (“…He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that made us whole, and with his stripes we are healed…”)

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For Our Sake and for Our Salvation – Gospel in Preparation for Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion

For Our Sake and for Our Salvation – Gospel in Preparation for Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion

Whatever mystery enfolds the cross, these things we know clearly: He went deliberately; He did it for us; and He did it for the atonement of our sins and for our salvation. In John 10 Jesus tells his disciples , “I am the good shepherd, the good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep…no one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord”. In Isaiah 53 we are told why:

“Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows… he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that made us whole, and with his stripes we are healed”

As the Creed says so simply and eloquently, it was “for our sake and our salvation”.

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The Way of the Cross – Second Reading in Preparation for the Third Week in Lent

The Way of the Cross – Second Reading in Preparation for the Third Week in Lent

So the truly wise follow Christ to Calvary, not only in Lent but every day. They keep the Cross ever before them in their mind and heart. They walk the Stations of the Cross. They pray before the Crucifix. They ponder the mystery and give thanks in wonder. They come to the Eucharist to be part of the memorial and re-presentation of His sacrifice and go forward to receive Christ himself, the greatest “benefit of his passion”.

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The God Who Emptied Himself – Second Reading of the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross

The God Who Emptied Himself – Second Reading of the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross

Imagine, if you will, each phrase as capturing one deliberate step after another to the bottom: he emptied himself…took on the form of a servant…found in human appearance he humbled himself…becoming obedient to death…even death on a cross. Now remember the reason for this descent…In the words of the Creed, “For our sake and our salvation he came down from heaven, was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary and became man.” Surely, the deeper we see him descending, the higher he must be raised in our worship.

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