Easter Triduum

I showed Jesus my wounds

At yesterday’s Good Friday liturgy, I rolled up my sleeves for the first time this year. So what? Well, my left forearm has some scars on it, and in these scars, open wounds on my mind and soul are visible.

In rolling up my sleeves, I wasn’t just responding to the beautiful weather; I was bringing my wounds, and so myself, before Jesus crucified. He is wounded to enter my wounds, He died to enter my death. He is naked before us: how could I hide myself from Him?

We have to let Jesus enter into us, through our wounds, our sins and our death. How? Through faith in Him and through His holy sacraments. In these, Jesus comes to us in our sins, our struggles, and our suffering, and brings us His life that conquers death.

When we give these up to Him, and let Him enter into them, something mysterious occurs. As He touches them with His mercy, He fills and transforms them with His self-sacrificial love, and in doing so, we find them united to His Holy Cross. Our wounds are united to His.

And His wounds have been glorified by His resurrection from the dead.

 

God bless you, and Happy Easter!
He is risen!

san-damiano-cross

I love the San Damiano cross. Jesus’ arms are open wide in a priestly gesture, of offering, gift, and welcome. The Cross is an act of love and freedom.

This changes everything

On good Friday, it seemed that for all that Jesus was, he was just a man. He had given sight to the blind, and healed the lame, and preached the good news to the poor and raised the dead, but was still just a man, and suffered and died like the rest. He cast out demons, walked on water, taught with authority, was transfigured on the mountain, and was the messiah, the Son of God, but at the end of the day, he was but a fragile, mortal man, destined for the grave.

Sunday changed that. Jesus of Nazareth rose from the dead. He suffered pain, defeat, and death, as one human in common with us all, and he rose victorious. It was by his weak, mortal flesh, that God entered our greatest battle, and defeated it from the inside. Out of love He joined us in our darkest hour, and by His love He illuminated and broke the darkness of death.

And he was one of us. A human rose from the dead. And not only one of us, but the one who promised we could live in him, and he in us. The night before he was killed, he took bread and wine, and gave us his body and blood, for our food; that we may abide in him, and he in us; that as he lives by the Father, we may live by him. This is the one who left death in the past.

All history, all humanity, all life is changed forever. Death is not final; Love is. God is victorious. Every moment of life, is illuminated by the hope of the resurrection, and we live liberated from death. When death is overturned, what could hope to be left unchanged?

Christianity is no mere religion, no mere philosophy, no mere way of life. These are footnotes of life, and particular systems of living. They are no more than after-thoughts and add-ons. But Christianity fills, permeates, enlightens and enlivens all of life. Emmanuel: God is with us; this is my body, which is given for you; Christ is risen. Christianity is life transformed and fulfilled by accepting God’s offer of Himself.

Happy Easter, and may God bless you

A late Easter post

Good Friday

There are two main themes I see when Jesus foretold his suffering; disowning self and not being ruled by fear, and that greatness is truly through service.

1.

From that time began Jesus to shew to his disciples that it is necessary for him to go away to Jerusalem, and to suffer many things from the elders, and chief priests, and scribes, and to be put to death, and the third day to rise. And having taken him aside, Peter began to rebuke him, saying, ‘Be kind to thyself, sir; this shall not be to thee;’ and he having turned, said to Peter, ‘Get thee behind me, adversary! thou art a stumbling-block to me, for thou dost not mind the things of God, but the things of men.’
Then said Jesus to his disciples, ‘If any one doth will to come after me, let him disown himself, and take up his cross, and follow me, for whoever may will to save his life, shall lose it, and whoever may lose his life for my sake shall find it, for what is a man profited if he may gain the whole world, but of his life suffer loss? or what shall a man give as an exchange for his life?’
Matthew 16:21-26

Jesus taught the disciples that to truly live, they must disown themselves. No wealth on earth will last, and if you hold it too tightly, you will perish with it. We will all die, so there is no point allowing the fear of death to prevent us from truly living. Truly living is loving and serving others.
In the fear of death, your life is already taken, and you will die anyway, so what have you gained? Use your life, even to death, for good, and you are free.

Such fearless goodness in the face of evil, even evil towards you because of goodness, is how the world is overcome.

‘these things I have spoken to you, that in me ye may have peace, in the world ye shall have tribulation, but take courage—I have overcome the world.’
John 16:33

Jesus overcame the world, because he refused to be selfish and live half a life ruled by hurting and fearing his enemies. He refused the world’s standards, and, by the resurrection, he defeated them.

and this is the command we have from Him, that he who is loving God, may also love his brother… for this is the love of God, that His commands we may keep, and His commands are not burdensome; because every one who is begotten of God doth overcome the world, and this is the victory that did overcome the world—our faith;
1John 4:21…5:3-4

In faith in Jesus Christ, we too, share in this radical love that overcomes the world.

2.
Jesus prediction of his suffering in Matthew 20:18-19 and Mark 10:33-34, is preceded by him telling them that the first will be last, and the last first, and followed by Zebedee’s wife and sons request,

‘Grant to us that, one on thy right hand and one on thy left, we may sit in thy glory;’ and Jesus said to them, ‘Ye have not known what ye ask; are ye able to drink of the cup that I drink of, and with the baptism that I am baptized with—to be baptized?’
Mark 10:37-38

(The cup he’s about to drink and baptism he’s about to be baptized with, refer to his suffering and crucifixion)
Jesus tells them it’s not his choice, and the others get annoyed with them for asking. So Jesus explains to them,

‘but whoever may will to become great among you, he shall be your minister, and whoever of you may will to become first, he shall be servant of all; for even the Son of Man came not to be ministered to, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.’
Mark 10:43-45

Good Friday is about being a servant.

Easter Sunday
On the third day he rose, proclaiming new life, and proving that

The love doth never fail
1Corinthians 13:8

God bless you.