Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Sonja Corbitt

4/22/2011 (5 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

A meditation on the mystery of the passion and death of Jesus

As we trod with Jesus the steps to Golgotha that draw Lent to a close, let us look upon the healing execution. See what evil does to the earth, to the world, to goodness, and know that it is also VANQUISHED. It is Good Friday. Let us lift our eyes to the Son of God upon the cross, for "He has power over life and death; He leads men down to the gates of death and back again" (Wis. 16:13).

Highlights

By Sonja Corbitt

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

4/22/2011 (5 years ago)

Published in Lent / Easter

Keywords: lent, easter, good friday, atheism, crucifixion, veneration of cross, love of god, serpent wilderness, garden eden, satan, evil, holy week, resurrection, eternal life, Sonja Corbitt


NASHVILLE, TN (Catholic Online) - 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?

"I AM the God of the Living"

Together, the serpent and the wood were cursed - a horrifying ancient symbol of fear, judgment, evil and death. Artistic renderings of the Garden of Eden nearly always depict the deceitful, mortal serpent entwined upon the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. It was an open-mouthed, striking serpent that would one day murderously confront the Woman and her Seed.

Moses' tribal staff transformed into a snake and then back into a staff in the presence of the idolatrous Egyptian Pharaoh (Ex. 4:2-4). He used this same staff in error to strike water from the rock for the people to drink (Num. 20), a fit of temper that cost Moses the attainment of the earthly Promised Land, since there was no need to violently wrest from God what He would willingly provide.

Because Moses was also Aaron's brother, it would have been that same tribal staff that indicated God's selection of Aaron as the first priest and that was placed as a memorial of the priesthood within the Holy of Holies. Later, when "[t]he soul of the people became very discouraged on the way" to the Promised Land (Num.21:4), they complained and grumbled in their weariness, and wandered into a den of venomous snakes. As fever and death from the poison rampaged through the camp, the people cried out to God to save them from the revolting snakes. God heard and answered them with great deliberation.

At God's instruction, Moses affixed one of the frightening serpents to a "pole" (Num. 21) and raised it at the door of the tabernacle (St. Justin Martyr, First Apology, LX). Could it also be that the "pole" was the staff of Moses and Aaron, prophet and priest from the same tribe, removed from the inner sanctuary for the salvation of the suffering people? The raising of this contemptible figure would have surely caused the people to shrink in revulsion, but they were invited to confront their pain and fear in order to be healed.

It was this stunning image that Jesus pointed to in His dialogue with Nicodemus as an analogy to His own saving death: "If I be lifted up like the serpent in the wilderness..." Because anyone who hung on a tree was cursed (Duet. 21:22-23), Jesus became a curse in order to be lifted up from the earth as a banner to save those who would look to Him. For this reason "the Lord was pleased to crush him in infirmity." Jesus did this readily at every step, foretelling the awful, accursed method to Nicodemus, without any doubt of the Father's love for Him.

Jesus teaches us that what hurts most us can also heal us indeed, that we can be unafraid to abandon the restless yearnings of our deepest needs, weaknesses and desires into our Father's infinite hand. Whatever sin keeps you from this matchless Love, whether your own or that which has been done to you through someone else's ugliness, abandon it to the Father just as Jesus offered His very life and received it back as the nourishment that sustains human life forever.

Only God has the power to change death into life.

The Body and Blood of Christ are the source of a supernatural life, called "the new covenant" and "eternal" in the Scriptures for its quality. It is life that is stronger than the power of death, even a cruel one. Faith to faith, it can raise the dead in our own past, circumstances, and experiences, but only if we look to Him in the putridity of death, hold His hand in the hurt and humiliation, and pass with Him into life. 

Look upon the healing execution. See what evil does to the earth, to the world, to goodness, and know that it is also VANQUISHED. It is Good Friday. Let us lift our eyes to the Son of God upon the cross, for "He has power over life and death; He leads men down to the gates of death and back again" (Wis. 16:13).

-----

Sonja Corbitt is a Catholic speaker, Scripture study author, and a contributing writer for Catholic Online. Visit pursuingthesummit.com to view a personal message from Sonja or to order her 10-week, DVD-driven Bible study Soul of the World, The Heart as God's Dwelling Place.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


Copyright 2016 - Distributed by THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for May 2016
Universal:
Respect for Women: That in every country of the world, women may be honored and respected and that their essential contribution to society may be highly esteemed.
Evangelization: Holy Rosary: That families, communities, and groups may pray the Holy Rosary for evangelization and peace.



Comments


More Lent / Easter

8 thought-provoking Easter quotes to inspire Watch

Image of Easter is more than eggs and bunnies.

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

We all love to celebrate Easter with brightly colored hard boiled eggs, candy, cute pictures of bunnies and chicks and we all love to gather together to party! Regardless of how you celebrate Easter, don't forget the real reason for the holiday. LOS ANGELES, CA ... continue reading


The surprising origins of the Easter Bunny -- it's not what you think! Watch

Image of Rejoice! The beloved Easter Bunny has very Christian origins.

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

The Easter Bunny is a symbol of Easter that is popular in western culture, especially with children. According to folklore, the Easter Bunny hides Easter eggs for children to find on Easter morning. However, the association between a rabbit and the resurrection of ... continue reading


'The Easter message of the risen Christ': Listen to Pope Francis' Easter Mass Watch

Image of Pope Francis celebrated the Easter Mass and focused on Christ and refugees (Reuters).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

On Easter Sunday, March 27, 2016, Pope Francis stood before pilgrims gathered at St. Peter's Square for the traditional Urbi et Orbi blessing. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - According to Vatican Radio, the pontiff stood before the packed square to speak of Jesus ... continue reading


Missing The Point of Easter Watch

Image of Alex Basile [not pictured] is the Religion Department chair at Kellenberg Memorial High School in Uniondale, NY. He has written nine books for Saint Pauls/Alba House. www.alexbasile.net

By Alex Basile

Author Alex Basile reflects of the true meaning of the Resurrection of Christ and how many Christians overlook the real joy of Easter. In the haziness of the first Easter morning, Mary Magdalene made her way to tomb of her friend and teacher. Fighting back tears and ... continue reading


He Has Truly Risen, We Are Free From Fear Watch

Image of The Tomb is empty!

By Fr. James Farfaglia

With the resurrection of Jesus, the physical is exalted.  When we truly believe in Jesus, we are resurrected in this life because we are freed from the fear and worry that are characteristic of a godless life; we are freed from the unhappiness of a life filled ... continue reading


HOLY SATURDAY: The Whole Earth Keeps Silence Watch

Image of The whole earth keeps silence because the King is asleep.

By Deacon Keith Fournier

Something strange is happening - there is a great silence on earth today, a great silence and stillness. The whole earth keeps silence because the King is asleep. The earth trembled and is still because God has fallen asleep in the flesh and he has raised up all ... continue reading


Holy Saturday: 'Make Sure He's Dead' Watch

Image of God has died in the flesh and hell trembles with fear

By Fr. Randy Sly

Just as the Chief Priests and Pharisees gathered with Pilate to plan on keeping the tomb sealed and guarded with Christ inside, many today want to place a stone in the entrance of the Church, to keep him inside again. On Holy Saturday we remember that no matter how ... continue reading


Good Friday Reflection on the Logic of the Cross Watch

Image of Benedict says,

By Michael Terheyden

Pope Francis said something during his first general audience that inspired me to reflect on the suffering Jesus endured during his Passion for the sake of our redemption. He said, "Living Holy Week means increasingly entering into God's logic, the logic of the Cross. ... continue reading


Good Friday: The Church Born From the Wounded Side of Christ Pauses at the Cross Watch

Image of

By Deacon Keith Fournier

Christ has flooded the universe with divine and sanctifying waves. For the thirsty, he sends a spring of living water from the wound, which the spear opened in His Side. From the wound in Christ's side has come forth the Church, and He has made her His Bride. ... continue reading


The Sacred Triduum: Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter. The Mystery of Faith

Image of The Liturgical year in the words of Monsignor Peter Elliott

By Deacon Keith Fournier

"Beginning with the Easter Triduum as its source of light, the new age of the Resurrection fills the whole liturgical year with its brilliance. Gradually, on either side of this source, the year is transfigured by the liturgy" (Catechism of the Catholic Church) . ... continue reading


All Lent / Easter News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

the FEED
by Catholic Online

  • Daily Readings for Thursday, May 05, 2016
  • St. Hilary of Arles: Saint of the Day for Thursday, May 05, 2016
  • Top 10 mothers from the Bible
  • Fatima Prayer HD Video
  • The Feast of the Ascension is the Portal to Eternity
  • Cinco de Mayo, the Fifth of May: A Day to Celebrate Heritage and History
  • St. Mary Magdalene HD Video

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Acts 1:1-11
1 In my earlier work, Theophilus, I dealt with everything Jesus had done ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 47:2-3, 6-7, 8-9
2 For Yahweh, the Most High, is glorious, the great king over all the ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 24:46-53
46 and he said to them, 'So it is written that the Christ would suffer ... Read More

Reading 2, Ephesians 1:17-23
17 May the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, give you a ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for May 5th, 2016 Image

St. Hilary of Arles
May 5: Bishop of Arles, France, and friend and relative ... Read More