Friday, April 14, 2017

UPDATED - Holy Week: Good Friday - Jesus Dies on the Cross

JESUS DIES ON THE CROSS

The Cross was his glory. Jesus did not speak of being crucified; he spoke of being glorified. [John 17:22-26] Therefore, first and foremost, a Christian's glory is the cross that he must bear. It is an honour to suffer for Jesus Christ. We must never think of our cross as our penalty; we must think of it as our glory. The harder the task a knight was given, the greater he considered its glory. The harder the task we give a student, or a craftsmn, or a surgeon, the more we honour him. In effect, we say that we believe that nobody but he could attempt that task at all. So when it is hard to be a Christian, we must regard it as our glory given to us by God.
William Barclay, Gospel of John , vol. 2, Daily Study Bible

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The fruits of the Cross were not long in coming. One of the thieves, acknowledging his sins, turns to Jesus: Lord, remember me when you are in your Kingdom. ... He has not needed to see any miracle to be converted into a disciple of Christ; to be a first-hand witness to Christ's suffering has been sufficient. Many others were to be converted on meditating on these same events of the passion related in the Gospels.
In Conversation With God Vol 2: Lent and Eastertide

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Says the Cross:
Then the young Hero ungirt himself —
that was God almighty,
Strong, stiff-willed, and strode to the gallows,
Climbed stout-hearted in the sight of many;
intended to set men free.

I trembled when the bold Warrior embraced me, yet I dared not bend to the earth,
fall to the ground for fear; to stand fast was my duty.
A rood was I reared up, bore the rich King,
the Guardian of heaven; I dared not give in.
The Dream of the Rood, Anthony Esolen translation

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The Lord is firmly nailed to the cross. He has waited for this for many years, and this day He is to fulfill his desire to redeem all men ... What until now has been an instrument of infamy and dishonor, has been converted into the tree of life and the stairway of glory. A deep joy fills him as he extends his arms on the cross, for all those sinners who will approach him will now know that he will welcome them with open arms...

He saw -- and this filled him with joy -- how the cross was to be loved and to be adored, because he was going to die on it. He saw the witnessing saints who for love and in defence of the truth were to suffer a similar martyrdom. He saw the love ofhis friends; he saw their tears at the foot of the cross. He saw the triumph and the victories Christians would achieve under the standard of the cross. He saw the great miracles which, with the sign of the cross, would be performed throughout the world. He saw so very many men who, with their lives, were going to be saints, because they would know how to die like him, overcoming sin (L. de la Palma, the Passion of the Lord) ...

It was not necessary for him to undergo so much torment. He could have avoided those trials, those humiliations, that ill-usage, that iniquitous judgment, and the shame of the gallows, and the nails and the lance ... But he wanted to suffer all this for you and for me. And we, are we not going to respond?

Very likely there will be times when, alone in front of a crucifix, you find tears coming to your eyes. Don't try to hold them back ... But try to ensure that those tears give rise to a resolution. (J. Escriva, The Way of the Cross, Eleventh Station).

In Conversation With God Vol 2: Lent and Eastertide

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