Saturday, March 30, 2013

Isaiah 52:13--53:12, Hebrews 4:14-16, 5:7-9, Psalm 31:2, 6, 12-17, 25, John 18: 1-- 19:52

39th Day in Lent
1 Corinthians 15:54-55

54 When our perishable being puts on imperishable life, when our mortal being puts on immortality, the word of Scripture will be fulfilled: Death has been swallowed up by victory. 55 Death, where is your victory? Death, where is your sting?


Daily Holy Mass Readings:

Isaiah 52:13--53:12, Hebrews 4:14-16, 5:7-9, Psalm 31:2, 6, 12-17, 25, 
John 18: 1-- 19:52 

Isaiah 52:13--53:12

The Sign of the Cross is the sign of the greatest victory and triumph heaven and earth have ever known.  Only God is able to take an instrument of shame and torture, something despised and hated and transform it into a throne of glory and a crown of majesty.  Thank You Abouna, thank You Jesus, thank You Holy Spirit.  Jesus, YOU ARE LORD!!!

Hebrews 4:14-16, 5:7-9

You my Beloved who are Perfect and You who are God had to undergo humiliation and untold suffering both spiritual, mental and physical and having drunk to the dregs our human misery and wickedness, You attained perfection par excellence as the SON OF MAN. It is right that You are now the only source of eternal salvation for ALL MEN whether they know it or not, whether they acknowledge it or not.

Psalm 31:2, 6, 12-17, 25

My Beloved, it is hard to be strong and take courage when one looks at the world today. The world desires to wipe out and deface all things Christian and it is hard not to be alarmed and dismayed at the hypocrisy of the world that does obeisance and kowtows to evil out of abject fear and cowardice.  Yet we know Your Face shines on Your faithful and You will save us in Your love.

The triumph of the Cross, Your victory over death and Your glorious Resurrection are signs of sure hope.  Death and evil do not have the last word as You so wonderfully have demonstrated to  us. 
John 18: 1-- 19:52

My Beloved, Judas the traitor did not know You at all, unlike the other eleven who did.  He enjoyed the same privileges, the same love, he too witnessed all that the others had witnessed.  He lived in close proximity with You for three whole years and in all that time he did not know You at all.  He came into the fold full of himself and he left the fold full of himself. There was no kenosis, no self-emptying.  He had every opportunity to be a saint but chose instead to be known as long as time lasts as Judas, the one who betrayed Jesus. 

Today, we too live in a world full of people who refuse to know You.  They hate You and they hate Your followers with a vitriolic hatred. They do not know You, they think they do and having decided that You do not fit their agenda, or their preconceived ideas about You and Your Church, they hate with the hatred of deadly poison.  It is the kind of hatred that destroys the hater not the hated.

I AM HE - You stand in front of those You have saved protectively and face the deadly enemy with the words that have the power to vanquish Satan - I AM HE.

Not one whom the  Father has entrusted to You will be lost for You are a good and faithful Shepherd. Violence only begets more violence and You ordered Peter to put his sword back in its sheath. Every violent act will meet a violent act and in the end will annihilate itself.  Peace on the other hand will prevail, this is the promise of the Prince of Peace.  My peace I give you, not as the world give give I. Peace in the midst of adversity. Peace in the midst of sorrow and loss. Peace in the midst of the storm.  God's own peace that surpasses all understanding is given in the eye of the storm. Like the three young men Shadrach, Meshach and Abdenego in the Book of Daniel, were untouched, unscathed, not even singed because the great I AM is with us. 

You drank the cup of suffering on our behalf.

We are so much like Peter those of us who protest loudest and most vociferously that we love You and will stand by You, those of us who make the loudest blustering noises about courage are the first to turn tail and run at the least hint of real danger and persecution. We hide as far away as our cowardice will take us.  But You do not condemn for You understand that we are weak.  This is why You tell us to rely on Your strength and not on our puny selves.  In You and with You, our gaze fastened on You, we can face all the Pilates, Herods, Annas' and Caiaphas' of this world boldly, calmly and serenely as You did.  Even though they flay us, scourge us and tear our flesh away like ribbons as they did You, we will remain unbowed so long as we look at You and draw our strength and courage from the Cross. 

No crime has ever been found in You or in Christianity and Yet You are condemned, denied, betrayed and crucified and so it shall be until You come again to claim those who have stood firm.  Despite declaring Your innocence not once but three times, Pilate still gave You up to die a death that was too horrendous, horrific and degrading to be passed on a Roman citizen.

The cowards of this world, despite being fully convinced of the innocence of the condemned continue to wash their hands and refuse to take a stand on the side of justice and truth.  In our world today every form of depravity is being forced down our throats as the new norm and if we object, we are condemned as bigots and lacking compassion and tolerance.  Leaders of nations are setting the course of the world on a fast track to death and annihilation.  Some like Pilate make weak ineffectual efforts to stem the tide but in the end these moral cowards cave in.

You bore Your Cross with dignity and You invite us to do the same.  Each will walk the road to Golgotha in the way You have planned but we do not walk alone.  We follow Your footsteps and we die to self as we stand for Truth - the Truth that is unknown to the Pilates of this world and who ask in scorn, "Truth, what is that?"  You have your truth and I have mine and never the twain shall meet. They refuse to recognize that there is an Absolute, Unchanging and Eternal Truth even when they buffet, mock, scourge, crown with thorns, slap, whip, spit at, ridicule, nail to a Cross and pierce. Scoundrels and fools believe they have succeeded to destroy Truth when they hear a loud and ringing cry, "Father into You Hands I commend My Spirit," and hear Your long drawn out sigh.  They see Truth taken down from the Cross, a bleeding, battered, gruesome unrecognizable Body, they see it being wrapped in a shroud and laid in a tomb and they grin mockingly  and snigger in secret believing they have triumphed. 

They will find out on the third day that the Cross has triumphed and that You have won the victory over sin, death and Satan.

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