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Friday, April 18, 2014

Lent: April 18th ~ Good Friday

Behold the wood of the cross, on which has hung our salvation: come let us adore
 (Liturgy of the Lord's Passion).

As we trod with Jesus the steps to Golgotha that draw Lent to a close, it is worthy to note that these are not the waning days of a dry, tired Lent. Instead, they inexorably ripen; they wax heavy and full with our veneration of a most contradictory crucifixion, the definitive gesture of the "God Who Exists." They are about to burst forth in a gush of LIFE, but not yet; these are the days of the grave.

Pilate, echoing modern secular philosophy, said, "What is truth?" Truth is Crucifixion. Angry death. The God who created the cosmos and every created, living, breathing, and existing thing out of and unto His own living, breathing existence, gave Himself up to the worst that humanity could do: man murdered God. Much as the atheist cried, God was truly dead.

God is Dead

Like Christ who went before us, we Christians admit the scandal of this death. We embrace it, because simply, Jesus did. He accepted our scorn. He received it all within eternal outstretched arms - our meanness, our ugliness, our revulsion and hatred. He welcomed it. He continues to welcome it, because it is no match for Him. He reigns from it; love is stronger than death.

What other religious demonstration in all of history is worthy of deity but this supreme, matchless humility? While he makes Himself a curse for love of us, we trample Him. What other god gives Himself utterly to the revenge of men?

From those who would make themselves gods, humanity demands signs and titillating sound-bites of intelligence, but God Who is God offers the foolishness, the scandal, of Himself crucified. Only a God worthy of the Name could, or would, put forward such an expression of weakness and humiliating invitation - an eternal, bloody embrace - as the ensign for Himself.

He is not angry. He is not vengeful. He is not hurtful. He is crucified. He is bloody. He is lonely.

Jesus Himself explained the scandal when He offered, "As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up..." Why is that? (...)

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Reflection: 'The intention of the way of the cross is to open our hearts and let us see with our hearts.'...'God became a man in order to give us a new heart; "I will give you a new heart and place a new spirit within you, taking from your bodies your stony hearts and giving you natural hearts." (EZEKIEL 36:26)

Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Jesus to die for us. He has opened the gates of heaven and the bars of our hearts as well. Help us love one another with His Heart of love. In Jesus' name. Amen.

From My Lenten Prayer Book by Aquinas Press

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