During these difficult and frightening times, May you be blessed with health, happiness and peace as we begin these Holy days.
One of my favorite paintings of Jesus is by Pennsylvania artist Richard Hook. The Image is Loving called Surfer Jesus. I even made a copy of it in 1970; I was a sophomore at St Peters Prep in Jersey City, NJ. I love this very masculine image of Jesus.
Not long ago, The History Channel showed a documentary in which scientists attempted to create what may be the most realistic 3-D image of the face of Christ.
They spent many months on the project, using sophisticated computer technology to craft the image from the Shroud of Turin.
The result is the face of a young man with long hair, and a beard, and scars, and blood stains around his brow. The computer estimates that he’d be about 5’8″. He looks more muscular than most may think. But he otherwise looks very much the way any of us might imagine Jesus looked at the time of his death.
What Jesus really looked like has fascinated us for centuries – and it’s informed how he’s been portrayed in art. And it’s not just what he looked like, but what he did. We see him depicted so often in art as a crucified victim, or a good shepherd, or a teacher preaching to his followers.
But tonight, on one of the holiest nights of the year, we are given a very different picture of Jesus. And it may be more surprising than anything you’d see on the History Channel.
We see him on his knees, wiping away dirt, washing feet.
This is truly what it means to be Christ. He said so himself.
“I have given you a model to follow,” he tells his apostles. “So that as I have done for you, you should also do.”
For all those who ask the perennial question, WWJD? “What would Jesus do?” here is your answer.
And it comes at a surprising moment: on this night when we celebrate the institution of the Eucharist, and the institution of the priesthood.
But the church does not offer us a gospel reading about Christ giving us himself in the form of bread and wine. Instead, it gives us THIS gospel reading.
But the message, I think, is the same. Tonight, God gets down on his knees for us. Tonight, He lowers himself. Tonight, He becomes a servant to the world — as humble as a servant, as meager and plain as a crumb of bread.
From this, we learn what it means to be like Christ.
The overwhelming impression is surprising, and challenging.
It is God becoming less…so that we can become more.
One of his last acts on earth, the last communal moment with his friends, is spent taking care of them, purifying them, removing the dust of the day.
Perhaps he is anticipating the roads they will travel in the hours ahead. Maybe he is somehow getting them ready for the long journey ahead — missions they will undertake after he has gone, traveling by foot to bring the gospel to the world.
I also think it is a beautiful representation of the priesthood, and the sacrament of reconciliation. We all walk the earth carrying the debris of our lives – our failings, our sins, our weaknesses. They cling to us. But in the sacrament of reconciliation, they are washed away. We are made new; we can begin again.
And this, too, to be healers, is what it means to be like Christ.
“As I have done for you, you should also do.”
The Imitation of Christ begins with this moment. It is in the selfless service, doing what others won’t do, or can’t.
During this time of pandemic, it is the selfless doctors and nurses. The police officers, medics, EMT workers, It’s the clerks and stock boys, the restaurant owners and bus drivers. So many have come together- as lest 6 ft apart. In selfless sacrifice for others.
It is people like Fr. Rick Frechette, in Haiti, performing surgery on the poorest people of the Western hemisphere’s poorest country, and caring for those who cannot care for themselves, and quietly going to mass graves to pray for the dead when no one else will.
and thousands of priests around the world, who anoint our sick and offer absolution for our sins, and celebrate mass with one simple goal in mind – to lead us to the Kingdom.
At a moment when the priesthood is so often under attack, sometimes rightfully so, but we can’t forget those who are quietly, prayerfully, persistently doing God’s work in our world – the great majority of good priests whose work often goes unnoticed. You won’t see headlines about them in the New York Times.
Years ago, when the AIDS crisis first broke, protestors showed up regularly at St. Patrick’s Cathedral to throw condoms and protest the church’s teachings about sex. But every week, Cardinal O’Connor left his residence and went to St. Claire’s Hospital in midtown Manhattan to visit AIDS patients — to bathe them and empty their bedpans. No one ever knew about it. It wasn’t reported until after he died. But that kind of work goes on today, in every corner of the world.
Its Chef Jonny Burnett in Somerset, England, who is cooking and delivering meals for isolated or vulnerable people during this corona virus crisis. “I know a lot of people are isolated so I said to my boss, ‘I’ll take time off work unpaid and just start feeding as many people as possible,'”
The German pianist Igor Levit who has been holding daily live-streamed concerts from his home for the last few days to keep people’s spirits up.
Its Café Gelato Restaurant owner Doug Lammers in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina,. Who Asked how he could help. So, until further notice, his shop is offering meals to children in need.
Or Jayde Powell who shops for others, said "As a pre-med student, I know that people who are older or people who have heart, lung or immune conditions are especially at risk for contracting the virus," Powell, a University of Nevada, Reno student, said "We're doing this to try and reach out to people who might feel that they are just completely alone in this situation.”
When a neighbor in Columbus, Ohio, began self-isolating to protect herself from corona virus, Taran Tien, 9, and his sister, Calliope, 6, sat on 78-year-old neighbors porch -- in a suit and a dress -- and played a classical concert on their cellos.
For Emmanuel Maira Mallen and his wife, mariachi was the way to give back.
When He woke up Saturday morning to a slew of frightening posts about corona virus on his Facebook feed, he said. Hoping to brighten someone else's day, the couple decided to hire a mariachi to play in a San Antonio area H-E-B grocery store.
Its Dr. Jane Bedell, 63, retired just last month but is coming back for one last tour of duty in light of the coronavirus pandemic. A breast cancer survivor and in a vulnerable age demographic, Bedell says her family is concerned for her, but she's put those fears aside. It’s about giving back.
Dr, Clifford Zwillich, is a 78-year-old former pulmonary and critical-care doctor, who is treating patients at hospitals in the Aspen, Colo., area. “It’s my responsibility,” said Zwillich, who retired three years ago. “I’m no more heroic than anyone else; I just have the skills to help.”
And I could go on and on.
SO many first responders giving their all at this trying time.
That is what it means to be like Christ.
That is what it means to wash feet.
“As I have done for you, you should also do.”
That is Christ’s message to his followers 2,000 years ago – and, to us tonight.
And so, this night, confronted with this challenging gospel reading, it’s worth asking ourselves: what have we done? How many feet have we washed?
How have I tried to imitate Christ?
Science and technology can only tell us so much. The fact remains: if you want to really know what Jesus looked like, you won’t find it on the History Channel. You won’t even find it on the Shroud of Turin.
Look, instead, to tonight’s gospel. Look all around you.
Because here – on his knees before others, his head lowered in humility and in love, doing the work of a lowly servant – here is where you see the true image of Christ.
In the many reaching out to help those in need, or doing their job to make a difference- here is where you see the true image of Christ.
GOOD FRIDAY REFLECTIONS- Pardon the ALL CAPS font.
My Reflections on The SEVEN LAST WORDS-
IT IS REALLY A MISNOMER- SEVEN LAST PHRASES- NOT WORDS.
THEY ARE FOUND IN DIFFERENT GOSPELS- NOT ALL IN ONE GOSPEL.
IN MY POLICE AND CHAPLAIN WORK- I AM OFTEN WITH PEOPLE AT THE LAST MOMENTS OF THEIR LIVES- THEY USUALLY WANT TO CONVEY THEIR LAST WORDS TO THOSE THEY LOVE.
I HAVE NEVER HEARD ANYONE SAY, “I WISH I SPENT MORE TIME IN WORK.”
THEY ARE USUALLY WORDS OF COMFORT AND LOVE. I THINK OF THE MESSAGES LEFT FROM THOSE TRAPPED IN THE WORLD TRADE CENTER ON THE TERRIBLE DAY OF 9-11.
JESUS GIVES US- HIS DISCIPLES HIS LAST WORDS- SO SIMPLE- SO PROFOUND-
JESUS ALWAYS TALKS ON TWO LEVELS- THE BASIC-LITERAL LEVEL AND THE DEEPER-SPIRITUAL LEVEL.
THE FIRST WORD IS : I THIRST
JESUS-HUMANITY- PHYSICALLY- SCOURGED-39 LASHES-
CROWNED WITH SKIN PIERCING THORNS, NAILED THROUGH HIS WRISTS.
LOSS OF BLOOD= DEHYDRATION
HE WAS THIRSTY
SO ARE WE. WHAT QUENCHES OUR THIRST?- NOT JUST PHYSICALLY BUT SPIRITUALLY.
WITH A DONUT OR BAGLE- IS HOLE PART OF THE DONUT? YES=WITHOUT IT WOULD NOT BE A DONUT- A MUFFIN OR CRULLER-
WE ARE LIKE THE DONUT OR BAGEL- SOME ARE WONDERFULLY PLAIN OTHERS DELICIOUSLY CHOCOLATE, SOME WITH SPRINKLES, OR POWERED WHITE. WE HAVE THIS PLACE- DEEP IN OUR HEARTS- OUR SOULS- IT CAN ONLY BE FILLED WITH ONE THING….HUMAN EMPTINESS-IS LIKE A DONUT
WE TRY TO FILL IT- NOT TO BE EMPTY. HOW DO YOU FILL THAT PLACE?
BEHAVIORS- GAMBLING, SHOPPING, SEXUAL ACTING OUT, INTERNET PORN
SUBSTANCES- ALCOHOL, DRUGS, FOOD
WE USE THESE TO FILL- THE HOLE IN OUR HEARTS
THESE WILL NOT FILL US.
JESUS TELLS US LIKE THE WOMAN AT THE WELL- HE ALONE CAN FILL OUR EMPTINESS, HE GIVES THE WATER THAT NEVER WILL MAKE US THIRSTY AGAIN.
WE FAIL TO COME TO THE WELL- WE USE THESE OTHER THINGS- WE TURN AWAY FROM THAT WHICH CAN FILL US AND SAVE US FROM THE THIRST THAT CAN DESTROY OUR LIVES. THEY MISS THE CENTER WHICH IS JESUS-
THE HEBREW WORD FOR SIN- TA AH= IN GREEK- HARMATIA-
THESE MEAN MISSING THE BULLS EYE- STRAYING OFF CENTER
WE ARE SINNERS, WE FAIL, WE MISS THE BULLS EYE . WE ARE IN NEED OF HEALING AND FORGIVENESS
SECOND WORD- FATHER FORGIVE THEM....
WE CAN ONLY RECEIVE FORGIVENESS, IF WE ASK, IF WE ADMIT WE ARE SINNERS. BUT THIS IS NOT POPULAR TODAY.
ADDICTIONS CAN BE OUR SIN- REFUSING TO BE FILLED WITH JESUS
FORGIVE? WE WANT REVENGE- REVENGE IS SWEET. WE ITALIANS HAVE VENDETTAS
JESUS SHOWED US THE WAY OF FORGIVENESS..BY THIS WORD = HIS EXAMPLE IN THIS WORD.
LORD..THIS TOO HARD.. MANY WALKED AWAY
"FATHER FORGIVE THEM FOR THEY KNOW NOT WHAT THEY DO."
JESUS FORGAVE THEM..AND US..
WE MUST LOOK AT WHAT FORGIVENESS IS AND IS NOT- ITS IS NOT FORGETTING
ITS NOT LETTING THE PERSON OFF THE HOOK NECESSARILY – SOMETIMES THERE NEEDS TO BE JUSTICE AND ACCOUNTABILITY-WHEN POSSIBLE
FORGIVENESS IS LETTING GO OF THE PAST- ITS OVER, WE CANT CHANGE IT.
FORGIVENESS IS LIVING IN THE PRESENT, LOOKING TOWARD THE FUTURE.
IT IS NOT ALLOWING THE PAST TO CONTROL OUR EMOTIONS, HEART, OUR LIVES.
IF WE DON’T FORGIVE, IT IS LIKE A RAVENOUS CANCER EATING AWAY AT OUR SOUL.
FORGIVENESS WILL MAKE A DIFFERENCE IF WE WORK TOGETHER.
THE THIRD WORD- "WOMAN BEHOLD YOUR SON, SON BEHOLD YOUR MOTHER"
JESUS REALIZED WE NEED EACH OTHER- GIVES MARY TO JOHN.
ITS ABOUT RELATIONSHIPS
THEY CAN FILL OUR EMPTINESS- THAT HOLE IN OUR CENTER
THEY CAN BRING FORGIVENESS AND HEALING
WE ALL WANT TO LOVE AND BE LOVED.
LOVE CAN CHANGE THE WORLD..
LOVE, LOVE CHANGES EVERYTHING ,SINGS MICHAEL CRAWFORD..
HOW UNIQUE IS CHRISTIANITY. FOR US GOD IS A COMMUNITY OF LOVE- TRINITY:A RELATIONSHIP OF THREE
IT’S A LOVE THAT IS SACRIFICIAL LOVE= JESUS MODEL :A LOVE THAT GIVES ITS LIFE FOR THE OTHER-
I TELL YOUNG COUPLES- YOU DON’T SAY I DO ONCE
YOU MUST SAY IT EVERY DAY- NOT ONCE FOR ALL- SAY I DO EVERYDAY, EVEN WHEN IT HURTS-
FAMILY AND RELATIONSHIP IS ABOUT SACRIFICE..
RELATIONSHIPS ARE LIKE PLANTS- THEY NEED TLC, GOOD SOIL- TO TAKE ROOT
RIGHT AMOUNTS OF SUN, WATER, FERTILIZER WE LOVE SILK PLANTS= LOW MAINTENANCE
RELATIONSHIP IS HARD WORK BUT WORTH THE TIME AND ENERGY
THERE IS A MODEL FOR US- ITS ON THE CROSS!
FOR THERE IS NO GREATER LOVE
LIKE IN RELATIONSHIPS, WE FALL AND NEED TO GET UP-
WE WILL GO THROUGH DESERTS OF LIFE..
IN THE STATIONS OF THE CROSS- JESUS FALLS THREE TIMES
BUT HE GETS UP.. IT’S A JOURNEY.. A PROCESS.. SOMETIMES WE DO NOT WANT TO GET UP, THE WEIGHT OF OUR CROSSES AND OUR PROBLEMS SEEM SO HEAVY
WE WANT TO CRY OUT, LIKE JESUS FROM THE CROSS:
OUR FORTH WORD:MY GOD, MY GOD, WHERE ARE YOU? WHY HAVE YOU LEFT ME? FORSAKEN ME? ABANDONED ME?
NT TESTAMENT- CHRISTIAN SCRIPTURES ARE WRITTEN IN GREEK BUT FOUR PHRASES ARE LEFT IN JESUS’ NATIVE LANGUAGE OF ARAMAIC
1-ABBA- MEANS DIFFERENT THINGS- DEPENDING ON WHO SAYS IT-
IF A CHILD SAY IT- IT MEANS DADDY- IF A TEEN SAYS IT, IT MEANS POPS-AND AN ADULT WOULD MEAN FATHER.
2-TALITHA CUM- GET UP LITTLE GIRL-DEAD GIRL
3-EPHRATHA- BE OPENED- TO DEAF MAN
4-QUOTING PSALM 22- ELI, ELI LAMA SABACHTHANI-
FORTH WORD FROM THE CROSS- MY GOD, MY GOD, WHERE ARE YOU? WHY HAVE YOU LEFT ME? FORSAKEN ME? ABANDONED ME? JESUS CERTAINLY DIDN’T DOUBT THE EXISTENCE OF GOD
BUT FELT ALONE, ABANDONED- LIKE WE CAN FEEL IN THE MIDST OF GREAT LOSS OR TRAGEDY
DOUBT IS HEATHY ON THE SPIRITUAL JOURNEY IN LIFE
IT HELPS US LOOK AT OUR COMMITMENTS AND CHOICES
OUR FRIENDS, JOBS, LIFE PARTNERS- ARE THESE RIGHT FOR ME?
DOUBT HELPS US TO QUESTION AND GROW
SOME PEOPLE FEEL CERTAIN AND NEVER DOUBT- MAYBE BLIND OBEDIENCE
POLISH SAINT- KING STANISLAUS- “TO BELIEVE WITH CERTAINTY, WE MUST BEGIN WITH DOUBT.”
DOUBT CAN STRENGTHEN OUR FAITH-
FAITH IS NOT KNOWING-
A SAYING I LIKE TO QUOTE- FOR THOSE WHO DO NOT BELIEVE, NO EXPLANATION IS POSSIBLE.
FOR THOSE WHO DO BELIEVE, NO EXPLANATION IS NECESSARY.
THE DESERTS OF LIFE WILL COME. WE WILL HAVE TO CARRY OUR CROSSES
IT DURING THESE TIMES THAT I PRAY THE SERENITY PRAYER:
GOD, GIVE ME THE SERENITY TO ACCEPT THE THINGS I CAN NOT CHANGE, THE COURAGE TO CHANGE THE THINGS I CAN
AND THE WISDOM TO KNOW THE DIFFERENCE.
DOUBT CONNECTS US- IT DOESN’T MAKE US BETTER OR WORSE
DOUBT AND SUFFERING WILL END… IF WE REACH OUT TO THE LORD LIKE
DISMAS, THE GOOD THIEF DID. JESUS SAYS TO HIM…
4- THIS DAY, YOU WILL BE WITH ME IN PARADISE.
WHAT DO WE REALLY KNOW ABOUT PARADISE: HEAVEN? LITTLE OR NOTHING
ALTHOUGH WE ARE SEEING MORE AND MORE WRITTEN ABOUT NEAR DEATH EXPERIENCES.
BEGINNING WITH DR RAYMOND MOODY IN THE 70S- LIFE AFTER LIFE
HEAVEN IS FOR REAL- BOOK AND MOVIE- COLTON BURPO’S EXPERIENCE
90 MINUTES IN HEAVEN BY DON PIPER
AND A NUMBER OF OTHER- ONE BY A NEUROSCIENTIST-
DR.EBEN ALEXANDER-PROOF OF HEAVEN- HE DIDN’T BELIEVE UNTIL HE HAD A NDE.
MANY SIMILARITIES IN THESE EXPERIENCES AND WE WANT “PROOF OF HEAVEN”
WHAT DOES OUR CHURCH AND FAITH TEACH US-
IN ORDER TO EXPLAIN AN EXPERIENCE THAT IS UNEXPLANABLE- WE HAVE TO USE IMAGES, SYMBOLS, METAPHORS, POETRY-
HOW DO YOU EXPLAIN AN EXPERIENCE TO SOMEONE WHO HASN’T HAD IT? A TRIP-TAKING PHOTOS- YOU HAD TO BE THERE, WE SAY.
A SUNSET TO A BLIND PERSON
FALLING IN LOVE
TO WALK WHERE JESUS WALKED, A BOAT ON SEA OF GALILEE, TOUCHING THE TOMB OF JESUS-THE SPOT WHERE HIS BODY LAID…COME ON MY PILGRIMAGES.
WE USE COMPARISONS- ITS LIKE…EXOTIC FOOD, WE SAY IT TASTES LIKE CHICKEN.
ST PAUL- 1 COR 2:9- “EYE HAS NOT SEEN….
CHURCH TEACHINGS- ESCHATOLOGY- END THINGS- DEATH, LIFE AFTER DEATH-HEAVEN, HELL AND PURGATORY
WHAT IS CHURCH TEACHING:
IF WE ARE FAITHFUL (OT=RIGHTEOUS), WE WILL SHARE AN EXPERIENCE WITH GOD AND ALL THOSE WHO HAVE GONE BEFORE US IN FAITH AND LIFE, FOREVER.
TO EXPLAIN THIS EXPERIENCE WE USE IMAGES OF CLOUDS, HARPS, WINGS, THRONE ROOMS, HEAVENLY HOSTS
THE IMAGES I LIKE ARE JESUS’ IMAGES OF BANQUETS- THE HEAVENLY WEDDING BANQUET- NO WORRY OF CALORIES, SUGAR, EFFECTS OF WINE, CHOLESTEROL… SOUNDS GREAT TO ME.
BECAUSE WE HAVE FREE WILL, WE CAN ALSO SAY “NO” TO GOD, FOREVER. HELL IS THE ABSENCE OF /LOVE/JOY/PEACE- ALL THAT REPRESENTS AND IS GOD. WE USE THE IMAGE OF FIRE- THE MOST HORRIFIC DEATH.
TODAY THEOLOGIANS TALK ABOUT- WANDERING ALONE IN DARKNESS FOREVER.
ALTHOUGH THE CHURCH TEACHES THERE IS AN EXPERIENCE CALLED HELL- IT NEVER SAYS THAT ANYONE IS THERE NECESSARILY. UP UNTIL THE LAST MOMENTS OF OUR LIFE, WE CAN REPENT.
SOME EVEN SAY, WE CAN EVEN MAKE THAT CHOICE AFTER DEATH.
WHEN WE CROSS FROM CHRONOS- GREEK WORD FOR LINEAR TIME BEFORE DEATH, INTO KAIROS-GOD'S TIME, THE INSTANT NOW, THE ETERNAL PRESENT.- WE DIE-
MANY OF US COME WITH A LOT OF BAGGAGE, AND UNFINISHED BUSINESS, WE ARE IN NEED OF CLEANSING, WE HAVE TO LET GO OF ALL THAT PREVENTS US FROM WALKING INTO THE ARMS OF A LOVING GOD. THIS PROCESS IS CALL PURGATION.
WE CALL THIS EXPERIENCE PURGATORY.
THE BOOK OF REVELATIONS SAYS- ALL WILL BE TRANSFORMED- THERE WILL BE A NEW HEAVENS AND A NEW EARTH
IN RESURRECTION WE ARE TRANSFORMED- WE DIE AND THE BODY IS TRANSFORMED- NOT GREEK DUALISM- BODY ROTS -SOUL GOES ON
JESUS USES IMAGES PLANT-SEED- CATERPILLAR-CRYSTALIS, MOTH-COCOON
THEY ARE SAME, YET NOT. JESUS FRIENDS DIDN’T RECOGNIZE HIM- MARY MAG
NOT A GHOST- THERE IS A CONTINUITY WITH FORMER LIFE YET NOT BOUND BY SPACE AND TIME OF CHRONOS- JESUS ENTERS A LOCKED ROOM- WALKS ON WATER- AND IS SEEN BY MANY AT SAME TIME.
BUT NO MATTER WHAT WE DO, WE CANNOT EARN HEAVEN OURSELVES- IT IS WON FOR US BY THE SACRIFICIAL LOVE OF JESUS ON THE CROSS.
WE ARE GIVEN THE TICKET TO HEAVEN. WE MUST R.S.V.P
WE DO THAT NOT JUST WITH FAITH- BUT WORKS ALSO. HOW WE TREAT EACH OTHER. HOW DOES JESUS SAY THAT WE WILL BE JUDGED?
MATT 25- FEED THE HUNGRY, WELCOME THE STRANGER, CLOTH THE NAKED, CARE FOR SICK ,ELDERLY, OUTCASTS.
FOR WHEN YOU DID IT TO THE LEAST…YOU DID IT TO ME
BE WILLING TO LAY DOWN ONES LIFE FOR A FRIEND.
DEATH IS THE ULTIMATE ACT OF LETTING GO..
LETTING GO IN DEATH IS INTO THE UNKNOWN...
LETTING GO OF THIS NEED TO CONTROL OUR THOUGHTS..OUR HOPES..OUR FUTURE..IS WHAT IT IS ABOUT...ABOUT CONTROL.
IN THE NEXT WORD -JESUS LETS GO..LETS GO OF HIS WILL..HIS POWER OVER HIS FUTURE..
HIS POWER AND CONTROL OVER OTHERS. HE LETS GO OF THOSE HE LOVED.
JESUS SAYS” OUR SIXTH WORD- FATHER INTO YOUR HANDS, I COMMEND MY SPIRIT..
HE LETS GO. THIS IS HARD FOR MANY OF US..WE NEED TO BE IN CONTROL..THERE ARE CONTROL FREAKS
AS MUCH AS I TRAVEL- ALL 50 STATES, 79 COUNTRIES, I HAVE A FEAR OF FLYING.. ACROPHOBIA. THIS CAN BE FROM FOUR POSSIBLE FEARS:
LOSS OF CONTROL
HOLDING ON AND LETTING GO..IS A HUMAN PROCESS OF GROWTH
FROM TOTAL DEPENDENCE..TO INDEPENDENCE..TO INTERDEPENDENCE
MATURE ADULTS NEED TO DEVELOP A HEALTHY ABILITY TO; GIVE AND RECEIVE
TO BE OPEN AND EXPERIENCE NEW THINGS
TO LET OTHERS INTO OUR LIVES BY SHARING
MOST MATURE ADULTS-LEARN THE ABILITY TO LET GO. ITS ABOUT CHANGE.
12 STEPS- AA- HAVE A POPULAR SAYING- LET GO AND LET GOD.
BLESSED JOHN HENRY NEWMAN SAID- “TO LIVE IS TO CHANGE, TO BE PERFECT IS TO CHANGE OFTEN.”
IF WE DON’T LET GO..WE DON’T GROW...TO NEW LIFE.
JESUS CAME TO THE END OF HIS LIFE..HE LET GO INTO THE HANDS OF HIS ABBA FATHER..
OUR LAST WORD FOR REFLECTION- JESUS SAYS- IT IS FINISHED....IT IS ACCOMPLISHED..
WHAT WOULD IT TAKE FOR YOU TO SAY IT IS FINISHED..IT IS ACCOMPLISHED..
5 THINGS YOU WANT TO STILL ACCOMPLISH/LEARN IN LIFE..
4 PLACES YOU STILL WANT TO GO (with me on pilgrimage)
3 PEOPLE YOU NEED TO SAY SOMETHING TO..IM SORRY, I FORGIVE YOU
2 PEOPLE YOU NEED TO WRITE TO OR CALL
1 PERSON YOU NEED TO SAY, I LOVE YOU.
AND WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR! ALL WE HAVE IS NOW.
THE WORST THING IS TO COME TO THE END OF LIFE WITH REGRETS-
HOW MANY LIVE WITH I COULDA, WOULDA, SHOULDA?
THE SCRIPTURE TELLS US..WE KNOW NOT THE TIME NOR THE HOUR...
LEO BUSCALIA, THE ITALIAN “LOVE DOCTOR” SAID, “LIVE EACH DAY AS IF YOUR LAST, BECAUSE ONE DAY YOU WILL BE RIGHT.”
JESUS KNEW IT WAS THE END.
JESUS LIT A MATCH, A FLAME.
NOW WE MUST TAKE THAT FLAME..AND SET THE WORLD ON FIRE..THE LIGHT WILL OVERCOME THE DARKNESS..
YES HIS TASK WAS OVER..IT WAS FINISHED..IT WAS ACCOMPLISHED..
NOW ITS UP TO US.
Holy Saturday Reflection
On Thursday, we recalled a garden on the mount of Olives called Gethsemane. It was there Jesus went after his last supper with his friends. It was there that he agonized over his impending death, Luke tells us, After being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly and his sweat became like drops of blood.” Medically it is called Chromidrosis, a state in which intense emotional stress may cause the blood vessels to expand so much that they break where they come in contact with the sweat glands. Jesus suffered both physically and emotionally. It was in this garden that Jesus was betrayed by Judas, one of his disciples. With a kiss; usually a sign of affection and love. What a catastrophic kiss it was. It was the sign to the soldiers of who to arrest. Lead to trial, from place to place. Finally to be scourged and ultimately crucified on the hill, the place of the skull called calvary, golgatha. We reflected on his Seven last words from the cross yesterday. After his death, he was taken down from the cross. Johns gospel tells the story.
Later Joseph of Arimathea asked Pilate for the body of Jesus. Now Joseph was a disciple of jesus, but secretly because he feared he Jewish leaders. How many of us know people like this. They try to follow Jesus secretly. If you do it because your life is in danger, I suppose that is understandable. However, if we do it simply out of embarrassment, we need to know that doesn’t work for a disciple of Jesus. Joseph was a secret follower out of fear for his life. Nevertheless, with Pilates permission, he came and took the body away to another garden. The garden of burial.
Joseph and a companion with him. His name was Nicodemus. Nicodemus youll remember, was a member of the Jewish ruling council, but he wanted to know about Jesus and so he visited Jesus at night. Jesus told him, if he wanted to experience the Kingdom of God he would need to be born again in Spirit and truth. Obviously He was born again, because here he is now with Joseph, ministering to the lord with an expensive mixture of spices and ointments. This was after all the original disciples of Jesus, deserted him and fled. They wrapped his body with the spices and linen strips, in accordance with the Jewish burial customs and place him in a tomb.
Johns gospel notes that it was a new tomb in which no one had ever been laid. Because it was the Jewish preparation day for Passover. Remember for John, Jesus is the unblemished lamb, sacrificed at Passover. The time on Friday that the lambs are killed for the temple sacrifice and meal on Passover. For Matthew, Mark and Luke, the Last supper is the Passover meal. At Johns last supper Jesus washes feet as an example for us to do to one another.
Today on Holy Saturday, we sit quietly at the tomb, reflecting, maybe crying over the sacrifice Jesus makes for us. There is a story, Biblical scholar William Barclay told that sums up the sort of sacrifice that Jesus made on the cross.
In the First World war there was a young French soldier who was seriously wounded. His arm was so badly smashed that it had to be amputated. He was a very athletic and muscular young man, and the surgeon was grieved that he must go through life maimed. So he waited beside the soldiers bedside to tell him the bad news personally, when the soldier recovered consciousness. When the young mans eyes opened, the surgeon said to him, “I am sorry to tell you that you have lost your arm.” Sir, said the young man, I did not lose it; I gave it – for France.”
Barclay goes on to say, “Jesus was not helplessly caught up in a mesh of circumstances from which he could not break free. Apart from any divine power he might have called in, it is quite clear that to the end, he could have turned back and saved his life. He did not lose his life, he gave it. The cross was not thrust upon him: he willingly accepted it… for us.
Today, as we sit in isolation, social quarantine because of a virus taking many lives. We too make the sacrifice of staying in the tombs of our homes for the sake of others. In reality a small sacrifice compared to the many nurses, doctors, law enforcement officers, fire fighters, chaplains, EMTS, military women and men and countless others who are sacrificing their health and safety and even their lives for us.
Today, as we reflect on the tomb of Jesus. We also reflect on the sacrifice he made for us. What do we sacrifice in return?