Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Andrew M. Greenwell, Esq.

3/30/2013 (3 years 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 (3 years 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'


Copyright 2015 - Distributed by THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for April 2016
Universal:
Small Farmers: That small farmers may receive a just reward for their precious labor.
Evangelization: African Christians: That Christians in Africa may give witness to love and faith in Jesus Christ amid political-religious conflicts.



Comments


More Living Faith

Catholic Bishop abducted, attacked and assaulted before release Watch

Image of Bishop Prasad Gallela was abducted on his way home from mass (CNS).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Catholic bishop Prasad Gallela was on his way home from Mass on April 25, when two vehicles pulled up to him. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Bishop Gallela concluded Mass at Karunagiri Shrine in southern India then headed home.When the vehicles stopped, ... continue reading


Quick! What is the most quoted book of the Bible? This celeb knows! Watch

Image of Bono with Eugene Peterson have teamed up to make a short documentary about the Psalms.

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

What is the most popular book of the Bible? There's one book that people enjoy more than any other and it's also the most frequently referenced in our culture. Now, Fuller Theological Seminary has asked two very famous people to help spread the word about this ... continue reading


Pope Francis spreads words of love Watch

Image of Pope Francis speaks of reconciling with God (Pinterest).

By Elise Harris (CNA/EWTN News)

Reconciliation is an essential aspect of God's mercy, Pope Francis said Saturday, explaining that when we distance ourselves from the Lord through sin, it takes much more than our own effort to get back to him. Vatican City, Rome (CNA/EWTN News) - Referencing St. ... continue reading


5 tips for Catholics to stay positive Watch

Image of Stay positive by following five simple tips (WikiMedia Commons).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Do you - or someone you know - struggle with maintaining a positive attitude? Are people less inclined to spend time with you due to your poor attitude? Are you tired of wallowing in negativity? Try these simple tips to change the course of your life forever! LOS ... continue reading


Why are these transparent wires being put up in cities around the world? Watch

Image of Eruv lines are set up in cities around the world to make life easier for Orthodox Jews.

By Marshall Connolly (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Members of an ultra-conservative religious denomination are stringing transparent wires around many urban neighborhoods, all for religious reasons. These nearly invisible wires form webs in cities such as New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles. What are these wires and ... continue reading


'[D]on't ignore us:' Pope Francis explains the difference between knowledge and real love Watch

Image of Knowing about God is not the same as loving Him (Vanvick/Wordpress).

By Elise Harris (CNA/EWTN News)

On Wednesday Pope Francis said that just because someone is an expert in God's law and a strict adherent to the rules doesn't necessarily mean they know how to love and serve others. Vatican City, Rome (CNA/EWTN News) - "It's not automatic that whoever frequents the ... continue reading


Miracle in the Philippines: Tribe converted to Christianity after hearing Gospel and watching 'Passion of the Christ' Watch

Image of Manobo tribe embraces Jesus (tikbo).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

The Manobo tribe of the Philippines were taught the Gospel and viewed Mel Gibson's "Passion of the Christ" film, which led several to convert to Christianity. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - According to missionaries from Christian Aid Mission, nearly the entire ... continue reading


'I just couldn't believe it:' Oklahoma officers seize Christian charity money Watch

Image of Christian rocker stripped of charity money after being accused of engaging in drug activities.

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Christian rock band Klo & Kweh was driving through Oklahoma when they were pulled over for a broken headlight. What happened next was a shock that rippled throughout the Christian community. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - According to <a ... continue reading


Pope Francis decrees instances of miracles and martyrdom Watch

Image of Pope Francis spoke of saints on Tuesday.

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

On Tuesday, Pope Francis spoke of several men and women worthy of canonization. He included miracle attributions and stories of martyrdom. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - According to Vatican Radio, Pope Francis received a private audience with Cardinal Angelo ... continue reading


Christians deserve equal protection too! - Christian baker case may go to Supreme Court Watch

Image of Christian bakers should not be forced to participate in someone else's sin.

By David Drudge (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

The case of a pair of bakers who refused to bake a cake for a lesbian couple, may go all the way to the Supreme Court and resolve the apparent infringement of their First and Fourteenth Amendments. LOS ANGELES, CA (California Network) - The attorney for Aaron and ... continue reading


All Living Faith 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

Reading 1, Acts 16:11-15
11 Sailing from Troas we made a straight run for Samothrace; the next day ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 149:1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 9
1 Alleluia! Sing a new song to Yahweh: his praise in the assembly of the ... Read More

Gospel, John 15:26--16:4
26 When the Paraclete comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for May 2nd, 2016 Image

St. Athanasius
May 2: St. Athanasius, the great champion of the Faith ... Read More