Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Andrew M. Greenwell, Esq.

3/30/2013 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

We shall learn that what happened on Good Friday, that what is shown to us in each crucifix, that what the Church wants us to learn in the Easter liturgy, is the ultimate drama, the foundational passion play, a play which is a work of art by the Lord God himself that raises us from death, and puts us face to face with the living God. 

Highlights

By Andrew M. Greenwell, Esq.

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

3/30/2013 (1 year ago)

Published in Living Faith

Keywords: Jesus Crucified, Crucifixion, Good Friday, Miguel de Unamuno, Andrew M. Greenwell


CORPUS CHRISTI, TX (Catholic Online) - My dead Lord, the words you told your disciples at the Last Supper and on your walk to the Garden of Gesthemane yesterday on the first day of the Passover Feast, and the words you told the Caiaphas and Pontius Pilate, the Roman Procurator--every jot and tittle of them--are fully played out. 

God's word is like that.  God's word is a double-edged sword: unyieldingly true and truly unyielding.

Reclining with your apostles, with the twelve, you said you would be betrayed by one of them, the one who dipped his hand in the dish with you, the son of perdition whom you said it would have been better had he never been born.  You were betrayed by him, with a kiss no less, as you said.

During the Last Supper, you, the Lamb of God, gave us a new rite, a new Passover sacrifice, the First Mass.  You told your disciples that you would give them your Body, that you would give them your Blood, the Blood of the new covenant, that you would shed it for many for the forgiveness of sins.  You did.  You did profusely.

You said you would not drink from the fruit of the vine until you would drink it again in your Father's kingdom.  You refused that sour wine offered you on hyssop while on the cross, and so kept your word.

You told your apostles that they all would fail you, though they with grandiloquent promises vowed to be faithful unto death.  Your words were true; their words were cheap. 

Cheap words.  Your disciples often use cheap words.  They use the cheap words of hypocrites when they have not humbled themselves to become sons of the Son.
 
You are the only one, Lord, you, the Son of God, who humbled yourself in walking about us dressed in the flesh of man, whose words are not cheap.  You were faithful to your words unto death, even death on the cross.  You are the only one who can make our words not cheap.  You are the only one who can save us from hypocrisy.

On the way to Gethsemane, to the Garden of Olives, you told Peter--the rock upon which you would build your Church--that he would deny you three times before the cock crowed. 

Thrice predicted.  Thrice true.  Thrice was Peter sifted like wheat. 

The words of Jesus were true, were victor, though, like the furtive glance of Jesus at Peter, they are solvent for our human falsity and are the catalyst of the bitter tears of repentance at the recognition of our human failure. 

Twice Lord you prayed while your apostles slept--passion-prophesying solvent sweat, colored pink by your vermillion blood, oozing from your temples--that, if it be God's will that you drink cup of your passion, that his will be done. 

It was God's will.  It was therefore your will.  You had the courage to say and to accomplish with absolute integrity: Fiat voluntas tua.  And it was done, as both your Father willed it, and you willed it, in natures both divine and human.

You were delivered into the hands of sinful men, those who wield the power in this world, as you had said you would be. 

Struck.  Stripped.  Scourged.  Mocked.  Blasphemed.  A crown of thorns planted on your precious brow. 

Then delivered to be crucified on a wooden Cross, Roman instrument of your torture, upon which you were nailed and raised up to suffer a lingering death.  The only accompaniment to the hammering of nails, and the soft roll of dice, was the "clatter and chatter" of the wagging tongues of men. 

You told your apostles that you would be numbered with the transgressors.  And just as you said, you were.  You were crucified between two felons, numbered a felon yourself.

But despite the "clatter and chatter" of the wagging tongues of men, you prayed to God like a High Priest and gave directions like a King.  Even on the Cross, my Lord, you spoke with authority.  Regnavit a ligno Deus.  You are the God who rules us from the wood of the cross.

Seven "words," seven precious and authoritative "words."

To those before you--and through them to all of us: "Father forgive them for they know not what they are doing."

And to the penitent thief: "I assure you, today you will be with me in Paradise."  We beg to hear those words at our life's end.

To Mary in reference to John and through John to us: "Woman, behold your son!"  As sons in the Son, we are Mary's children.  To John in reference to Mary and through John to us: "Behold, your mother!"  As sons in the Son, Mary is our Mother.

The sun's courage then failed, and it hid its face from the human nature of the Word, when in extremis.  It grew dark.

You prayed with a loud voice:

אלי אלי למה עזבתני
Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachtani.
"My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?"

Thereby, you invoked, like a choirmaster his choir, the entirety of that Psalm which begins with those words as the Leitmotif, the underlying hymnody, the secret music informing your suffering and redemptive death. 

"I thirst."

"It is finished."

"Father into your hands I commend my spirit!"

And so you breathed your last.  You bowed your head, and gave up your spirit.

Now what?

We know not what else to do but bury you.  The Lord is dead. The apostles scattered and huddled in hiding.   Our hope died with you.  It looks to us as if God has lost, and the powers of men and the gates of hell have conquered. From all appearances, might makes right, and justice is nothing but an empty word, the concept of dreamers.

But the Roman centurion said, "Truly this man was the Son of God!"  What did the pagan see that your disciples did not?

We remain troubled.  Some words, Lord, have not yet come to pass.  You told us that you would be able to rebuild the temple after it was destroyed, and to do so in three days.  How, with you dead, your hands still, your soul vanished into Sheol, can that now occur?

You told Caiaphas that we would see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of power and coming on the clouds of heaven.  Your corpse, still nailed to the cross, blood and water from your side spent, how, so violently put to death, can you possibly do this? Was this an idle claim?

You told your disciples that you would not leave them as orphans, that you would come to them, that they would see you, that you would live, and that you would send them a Helper.  Did you renege on these promises?  How, now that you are with us no longer, shall they be fulfilled?  Were you--the thought is to hard to bear, and the words harder yet to utter--deluded?

We don't know the answers to these questions. 

We don't see how any of this is possible.

We don't see through a glass darkly.  We see naught of hope.

You died, as St. Paul said, "for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures." (1 Cor. 15:3)  But he also said that if Christ had not been raised, that our faith in him was futile, and we are still in our sins.  Without the resurrection, we have no assurance his death meant something.  And he, the Lord, is dead.  His corpse is getting cold.

So we have no faith, no hope, and our love, like the Lord's body, is getting cold.

But things shall be different in three days' time.

In three days' time we shall learn, that what happened on Good Friday, that what is shown to us in each crucifix, that what the Church wants us to learn in the Easter liturgy, is the ultimate drama, the foundational passion play, a play which is a work of art that raises us from death, and puts us face to face with the living God. 

We shall learn, as Miguel de Unamuno put it in his poem "El Cristo de Velázquez,"

Eres el Hombre eterno que nos hace hombres nuevos.
Es tu muerte parto.


You are the Eternal Man which makes us new men.
Your death is a birth.


Or in the words of St. Paul (1 Cor. 15:55):

O death, where is your victory? 
O death, where is your sting?

. . . Thanks be to God who has given us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

-----

Andrew M. Greenwell is an attorney licensed to practice law in Texas, practicing in Corpus Christi, Texas.  He is married with three children.  He maintains a blog entirely devoted to the natural law called Lex Christianorum.  You can contact Andrew at agreenwell@harris-greenwell.com.

---


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


© 2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for November 2014
Lonely people:
That all who suffer loneliness may experience the closeness of God and the support of others.
Mentors of seminarians and religious: That young seminarians and religious may have wise and well-formed mentors.



Comments


More Living Faith

Feast of Christ the King and Advent: What Does it Mean? Watch

Image of The Church really IS the Mystical Body of the Risen Christ. That Body is inseparably joined to the Head. Jesus Christ is alive, he has been raised, and he continues His redemptive mission now through the Church, of which we are members. As we choose to actually live our lives liturgically, not just go through the motions, we can move through life in the flow of the liturgical calendar. We can experience the deeper mystery and meaning of life, now made New in Jesus Christ, the One who is the Way, the Truth and the Life. (John 14:6,7) Jesus Christ is King! Jesus Christ is meant to become the Lord of our whole lives, and inform the very pattern of how we live them.

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

On November 23rd we celebrate the Feast of Christ the King. It is one of many opportunities the Catholic Liturgical Church year offers to each of us consider the creature which is called time, receive it as a gift and begin to really live differently. Yet, for ... continue reading


Two bishops dine and dialogue with peace activists

Image of War doesn't decide who is right, just who is left.

By Tony Magliano

During the recent U.S. Catholic bishops fall assembly in Baltimore, two bishops decided to forego the military chaplains dinner sponsored by the U.S. Army Chief of Chaplains Office, and attended instead a simple supper and discussion on peacemaking. On the evening of ... continue reading


'God always forgives, but the earth does not,' Pope warns Watch

Image of The Pope urged the world's leaders to rein in their greed and help the hungry.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A doomsday scenario in which Mother Nature would exact her revenge is possible, even likely, Pope Francis warns. The pontiff was speaking out against the exploitation of natural resources for profit. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The Pope urged the world's ... continue reading


Pope Francis' special message: Why Poverty? 'And while we speak of new rights, the hungry remain'

Image of When we give our loaves and fishes to Christ, there is no end to the Good that can come from it.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Pope Francis has asked the world to do more to help those who suffer from hunger and malnutrition. Despite gains made in infrastructure and outpourings of food, too many people with plenty have done too little to help. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - With ... continue reading


How do you raise a good, upstanding child? With daily prayers, weekly church attendance and the knowledge of God Watch

Image of Billy Graham, now 96, has reached out to millions with his joyous words of the truth of God and Jesus Christ.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Reverend Billy Graham, the world famous television evangelist and founder and chairman of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, has said that the reason the world seems to be in such dire straits is that children are not being raised right. LOS ANGELES, CA ... continue reading


Learning Lessons for Life from Zaccheus and that Sycamore Tree Watch

Image of Zaccheus climbed that tree in order to see the Lord, not to be seen by Jesus. He did not care what the crowd thought of a grown man climbing a tree! He went after the encounter with Jesus Christ with a childlike simplicity and a reckless abandon. Do we?

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

The Sycamore tree created a clear line of vision for Zaccheus. It helped him to rise above the crowd and see the Lord clearly. It placed him in the right position for the invitation that would follow. Jesus told him to come down for he was coming to his house! ... continue reading


Jesus Weeps and Calls us to Recognize His Visitation Watch

Image of The Cross, an instrument of torture, will become the sign of peace, for those who find their refuge under its shadow and embrace the One who stretches out His arms to embrace the whole world. There Jesus will deal definitively with the great enemy of peace, the sin which impedes it in each of our lives. With tenderness He looks out from the Mount of Olives and sees the Holy City of Jerusalem. How he loves that City. Then, Jesus weeps. He knows the City will soon be overtaken and destroyed by the armies of Titus. He weeps the tears of Love and cries compassion from His Sacred Heart

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

Jesus shows His disciples - and He shows us us, because we are His disciples in this hour - the pattern of living in a continual communion with the Father. He invites them - and He invites us - into this very communion of love which He has with the Father, in the ... continue reading


Children deserve both father and mother, Pope Francis says Watch

Image of Children have the right to be raised by a mother and a father, Pope Francis said, emphasizing that

By CNA/EWTN News

Children have the right to be raised by a mother and a father, Pope Francis said, emphasizing that "the family is the foundation of co-existence and a remedy against social fragmentation." Vatican City (CNA/EWTN News) - The Pope made these remarks on Nov. 17 at ... continue reading


Here are 10 Very Interesting Facts About the Catholic Church You Probably Didn't Know! Watch

Image of Pope Francis commands the world's smallest professional army.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

How much do you know about the Catholic Church? Here are 10 fun facts you might not know. See how many you know and post your result in the comments! 1.    Vatican City has the highest crime rate in the world! With a population around 500 people and a ... continue reading


Study: Latin Americans abandoning Catholic Church for evangelical, Protestant churches Watch

Image of Protestants now make up 19 percent of the Latin American population, while another eight percent now profess no religious affiliation, a figure reaching 37 percent in Uruguay.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The Catholic Church is losing members in Latin America at an increasing rate. According to the Pew research Center, many Latin Americans are leaving the church for Pentecostal, Protestant churches. There is even a growing number of Latin Americans who now ... continue reading


All Living Faith News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

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

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Ezekiel 34:11-12, 15-17
11 "For the Lord Yahweh says this: Look, I myself ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 23:1-2, 2-3, 5, 6
1 [Psalm Of David] Yahweh is my shepherd, I lack ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 25:31-46
31 'When the Son of man comes in his glory, escorted ... Read More

Reading 2, First Corinthians 15:20-26, 28
20 In fact, however, Christ has been raised from the ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for November 23rd, 2014 Image

Bl. Miguel Pro
November 23: Born on January 13, 1891 in Guadalupe, Mexico, Miguel Agustin ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter