Posts Tagged ‘#Paschal’

The Three Men of the Cross

July 22, 2017

Three Men of Calvary… We Are All Three

The crucifixion as an event was filled with some points of interest. To get a good understanding of what occurred we need a sense of what was going on in the area at the time.

Roman rule was fairly new to them, and during that time robbery, theft, and murder were somewhat commonplace and a pretty big issue that the Romans were trying to get under control. The Roman way of dealing with that, was execution by crucifixion. It was cruel, it was not quick, and it allowed, for an extended period of time, the opportunity for others to watch them die and consider that possibly they would not like to meet the same end, and amend any ideas they might have had of breaking the laws.

Another curiosity, is that, generally speaking, the Roman method of execution was, at least in practice, to execute people two at a time, unless….. they happened upon a group of people they caught in the act of the crimes, in which case all the people who were responsible were crucified at the same time. If this were to happen, AND the person who was the leader of the group, or band , or rebellion could be identified, that person was executed in the middle of the grouping of people so that they would not be missed and would be identified as such.

From this, then, we can know that the crucifixion of Christ was an oddity. Consider what happened in the Garden when Jesus was taken into custody. ” And Jesus said to the chief priests and temple guards and elders who had come for him, “Have you come out as against a robber, with swords and clubs? ” ( Luke 22:52) . So here Jesus is treated as such.

In addition, it is noteworthy that He is crucified in the middle of the three.. This would tend to signify that He was the leader of the group.. He was in charge… Then, there is the other two men. So, history records that the other two actually were robbers Since they were crucified with Jesus it appears that Jesus’ crucifixion was an addition… or an after thought of the day. In perspective, it was the other two men had been in jail for a while awaiting their execution, and Jesus’ trial, and judgment occurred on the same day as the others, after all the delays and passing Him back and forth etc. Finally , with Roman efficiency, they decided that since they already had an execution scheduled, why not just get this over with, and crucify Jesus at the same time. It would make efficient work of the issue and put it to a final resolution and make the locals happy all at the same time.

I went all through this explanation because it helps to gain an objective non-theological view of the occurrence in order to understand, as one friar used to quip.. ” The story behind the story ” .

Now on to the other two men. The two other men who were crucified with Christ were , Dismas and Gustus. Dismas was the robber who was crucified on Jesus right side, and Gustus on his left side.

In the coming few weeks, I would like to beg your indulgence , as we will examine these men, and their circumstances. Stay with me.. I hope you enjoy our journey together !

May God give you the gift of His peace… .

He Is Risen… Alleluia ! Alleluia !!

March 27, 2016

Last night was the Easter Vigil Mass… the point in the liturgical year when new Christians are brought into the church after the educational period known as the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults or RCIA.

On a personal note, it has been a crazy time for me personally as, like many of you my work life has been a bit crazy, after being thrust into a new job and with each new job there is a learning curve and a lot of pressures. I was thoroughly exhausted by Friday, and Saturday I slept for 10 hours, which I NEVER get to do. I started Friday night feeling chills and by Saturday morning I was in the midst of a flu bug. Bleh.

Now after downing a pot of coffee and spending most of the day feeling like something the cat dragged in, I mindlessly went through my weekend processes, I baked some bread, pondered dinner, did all the things that normally happed for me on Saturday, but I honestly was not going to write this weekend because extracting some cogent thought process from my brain seemed somehow out of reach.

I pondered the idea that I would be singing and prayed that my voice would stay with me, and then checked and realized that I would also be serving as EM for the choir as well as singing.. On one level I was thinking how nice it would be to not bother and stay home and rest… Of course, I already knew I was going. It did however give me pause to consider, how in doing my little part, in an extremely small way, I could be there,…. I would be there…. to carry my very own sliver of my personal cross.
How it is that I could be there…to help prepare the upper room for the Eucharistic banquet. I could be there to raise my voice in prayer, to join with our brothers and sisters, to celebrate with them.

The Easter Vigil Mass is full of wonderful symbolism. I have sat through and participated in these for a majority of my life. If you sing in the choir, you sit in the church, at night, after sunset, and the church is completely dark. In this time, in this quiet, aside from the rustling of people and papers, and whispered tones, from people below, there is a sense both of anticipation. I closed my eyes and prayed for all of you, for all those whom I had promised to pray for, and those I knew needed prayer. I sat in silent meditation, and in the dark… I could faintly hear the prayers of the pastor blessing the fire. Then silence again…

Time passed and since I knew we would be singing in just a bit I rested a moment. In what seemed like a long time, all of a sudden, the deacon was standing in the center of the Cruciform seating in the church, with the Paschal candle raised high and in a raspy voice he rang out….

“ The Light of Christ………..!” In that moment it was crystal clear how dark the world had been… and the deacon continued… to the next point.. on the journey…. again.. he raised the candle and rang out..
“The Light of Christ…… !” It was the only light in the entire church, but it meant that we could see a little.. Finally, the deacon reached the front of the church, followed by the rest of the clergy and the servers…. “ The Light of Christ……….” It was there at the altar, that eventually the light was shared, one small flame, was passed from one soul to another. Slowly… deliberately… until the entire church was lit with the one flame, from the one flame.

In this moment, I considered how much it is that our own spiritual journeys are like this particular part of the Easter Vigil, how it is that this part of the Easter Vigil is a symbolic re-telling of how it is that our God came to Earth and shared life with us, and how it is that His message lives on. We can see that His one light was big and bright, but it was alone shining in the dark…. He traveled with this light, calling out into the darkness… He carried his Light, giving thanks to the Father, all the way to the altar of Calvary, and on Good Friday, He, spread His light to all.

This light is spread through the disciples, through the church, through the Body of Christ, the people, who bear their light to others.

Today, the world may seem like a very dark place. There is persecution, there is violence, and terrorism. Life is difficult at times. Take heart. For in the darkness of this world, there stands a light.
There is one beacon of light, of hope, of life in the world. We already know that darkness has no power. It has no lasting reign over us. We already know, that in the end we have already conquered the darkness. We only need to bear our small light, and to share that light with our brothers and sisters.

There are many in the world who have lost their light. There are many in the world who might not have ever had a light… It is up to us to share that the light of Christ with others. Let us begin to do good….. to share the good… to share the Light with others who need the Light as badly as we need it ourselves.

Jesus Christ has conquered death, and has risen from the dead, so that we may have life. He is the first of the risen so that we too will rise with Him. It is not my light…. but His light that shines through me.. I am but a channel, a vessel, a tool for His use. He chose to call me brother. In all this He chose us.

He is Risen Indeed… Alleluia, Alleluia !

May God give you the gift of His Easter peace…