Saturday, April 3, 2010

The Fifth Sorrowful Mystery - Jesus is Crucified

Laude Arts and Gift

Naked and stripped of everything but His love and obedience to His father, Jesus is stretched out upon the cross. The dull thud of the nails being driven into His hands and feet is the most sickening sound you have ever heard. You wonder why the nails? Why can’t He be bound to His cross like the other two? Why this added insanity and torture? Jesus is offered wine mixed with gall. He refuses. “Oh, Jesus,” you want to beg. “Please take it”. “Please.” “It will help.” But your words stay locked in your mind and refuse to enter the ghastly silence.

Now He is being lifted up. Hanging helplessly between Heaven and Earth, it is the last time you will ever see Jesus alive. Suddenly, the ground shakes violently and the sky becomes as dark as night. Creation itself recoils in horror. The earth seemingly can not bear the weight of this grievous act and tries to rid itself of the cross. The sun can not bear to look down on the abomination and allows itself to be darkened. How could light possibly penetrate the darkness of men’s deeds? The wind itself mourns and begins to wail in an unearthly dirge. How is it that creation knew enough to lament and mankind did not?

All of the people who followed Jesus and professed to love Him have deserted Him. Only 3 remain…and two of them were women! Where are you at this point? Have you fled with the other disciples? Do you hang back at a distance, wanting to run, but compelled to stay and watch? Do you have the courage to face the threat of death from the Romans and the High Priests and follow Jesus to the foot of His cross? Do you even want to go there?

With your last ounce of strength you stumble up the hill and grasp the bottom of His cross. You cling to it for dear life. As you stand there in the darkness, you hear His voice barely distinct from the wind that is howling around you, saying “Father, forgive them, they know not what they do.” You tremble at the sound of His voice which for so long has been silent. You look up only to find his tender face gazing intently at you. Your eyes meet, and at that point, you understand only too well that He is talking to His Father about you. With dismay mixed with relief, you realize that He has forgiven every one of your sins. Feel His precious blood flowing over you as He anoints you into His Passion and washes you clean. With gratitude that goes beyond the measure of words, you are drawn into the Life which was freely given for your sake.

You help the others take Jesus down from the cross. Feel the weight of His precious body in your arms. See how completely He has entrusted Himself into your hands. As His body rests in your arms, so it rests in the arms of us all. We come to understand that we have become His body. His human body can no longer walk the earth, but ours can. Can we move forward in His place which is what He as called us to do.

You watch as Jesus is laid into the tomb. The rock seals off the entrance and at the same time it seems to seal off the hopes and aspirations of everyone who followed Him. How could it all come to this?

Has Jesus been laid in the tomb to rest? No. He has been put there engage in a battle which we can not fight but one we so desperately need to win. In three days, Jesus will grant us His victory in that battle. Only at this point, 2,000 years ago, no one knows that the Resurrection will happen.

This leads us back to the starting point, to Gethsemane. I ask you to sit and pray quietly. Spend time with Jesus as He invites you to enter into His Passion. As you do so, please know that Jesus is waiting for you to invite Him into your passion. Allow His cross to become your cross. Allow your cross to become His. In this shared commingling of suffering, Jesus opens the door for each of us to become one with Him.

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