The Sadducees and the Resurrection
Thanks once more to the loyal opposition to Jesus and his disciples and the questions they proposed to Jesus, whose responses clarified much of our faith in the resurrection. The scripture at Mass today (see below) tells of the arrest of Peter and John because they were teaching that the resurrection is due to Christ Jesus whom the Father raised from the dead. The Sadducees strenuously denied the resurrection of the dead and just days before Jesus’ death and resurrection confronted him with the outlandish case of seven brothers-in law marrying the widow of a brother who had died. This scenario they used to ask who would be married to her in heaven and thus denying the resurrection. Keep in mind the difference between resurrection of the dead and the resurrection of Christ, although the two are connected. The resurrection of the dead is our resurrection brought about by the Father raising his Messiah to glory — the Eastern Icon of Victory touches on this. You will find he scripture account in the first three Gospels as occurring after Jesus’ final entry into Jerusalem that last week (Matthew 22:23-33, Mark 12:18-27, Luke 20:27-40).
So how do the Sadducees help us with our Easter faith?
Follow Jesus’ responses:
1) From the burning bush at the time of Moses we know ours is a living God and we are joined to him in covenant. He is the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Jesus’ added comment was that they did not understand the scriptures (as they thought they did) nor the power of his Father. As Easter people we, too, need to understand the scriptures more as Jesus insisted upon.
2) The risen life will be different than life here on the earth. Jesus said: At the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage but are like the angels in heaven. The risen life is by the power of God, not the power of human generation. To this John expressed it in his Prologue: But to those who did accept him [Word made flesh] he gave power to become children of God, to those who believe in his name, who were born not by natural generation nor by human choice nor by a man’s decision but of God. This corroborates the scriptures which state that God raised his Son from the dead.
3) In the Acts of the Apostles the Sadducees saw the connection between Jesus’ resurrection and our own. The Apostles’ preaching clearly revealed this, e.g. see Peter’s discourse on Pentecost and his call to be baptized and joined to the risen Christ. So the necessity to arrest the Apostles and try to stop their preaching resurrection (both of Jesus and his followers) show how important is our faith in the risen glory of Jesus. So when we celebrate Easter we are not just praising God for raising Jesus from among the dead, but also that we are destined to share in our Lord’s resurrection. That is our faith, too.
4) The Sadducees asked about the seven husbands’ case during Jesus’ final days. This gives us the opportunity to understand what was going on in our Lord’s mind and heart as he knowingly approached his own death to be followed by being raised by the Father. He trusted his Father completely and evidently from his human side came to understand the Father through the sacred scriptures and Israel’s heritage. This is why he wants us to follow him in that regard and put our trust in him and his Father’s covenant love.
God helps us and teaches us in many ways — even from those who oppose us.
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Role of Peter in the Manifestation of Jesus’ Resurrection
A couple of days ago I directed your attention to the prominent role of John the Apostle on the First Easter and the ensuing days. His deep faith and love enabled him to grasp quickly that Jesus was alive and that this fulfilled the scriptures of old.
Today we want to take a look at Peter and his faith and role among the first Christians. He has from day one enlightened the Church in witnessing and explaining what God has done and expects of us. Peter was the first one to enter the empty tomb. Mary Magdalen had been there outside and then got Peter and John to come and see. John got there first but waited until Peter arrived to let him enter first. This shows Peter’s place which the others knew Christ had given him. When the pilgrim disciples from Emmaus returned to Jerusalem that First Easter evening they were immediately told that they knew Christ had risen because he had appeared to Simon. They trusted him and his authority. The Church has also been listening to the Acts of the Apostles and the early days of Pentecost and the following ones. Here Peter is the one who speaks out and gives the first of his discourses telling the others who Jesus was and is since the Father had raise him from among the dead. (We usually hear that Jesus was raised from the dead and I think most people consider this as revivication or resuscitation, i.e. he is brought back to life, something like we can experience happening in a hospital. See today’s blog on the Eastern Rites’ icons which present the resurrection of Jesus from the perspective of his going down to Hades/Hell, the underworld of our deceased ancestors.) So I think better to speak of Jesus being raised from among those in the realm of the dead. Jesus joined the dead persons to become like them in order to raise them to new life. Peter speaks this way at Pentecost citing the psalm of David: you will not abandon my soul to the netherworld and in curing the crippled man: The author of life you put to death, but God raised him from the dead [the mass of humanity who died before Christ]. In addition to these two discourses, Peter adds three more such explanations of the faith that the Father raised Jesus from among the dead.
Probably the most memorable of the resurrection accounts was that of the appearance of Jesus on the seashore for breakfast, when he asked Peter three times Do you love me and showed him mercy by giving the command that Peter feed his sheep.
Our grasp of the meaning for us of the resurrection of Jesus would have been much less without Peter and his leadership role. In practical terms we might say: If we did not have the witness of Peter’s grasp of the Father’s raising his Son our Easter faith would be less rich. His fellow Christians could say the same. We are grateful to Peter to be forward looking as far as the resurrection of Christ is concerned. Easter is about the future. It is a rebirth. Peter knew how to answer the question what are we to do from his listeners. The same holds true today.
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Disciples at Emmaus with Jesus
Today the Church gives us again the famous Gospel passage from Luke in which he records the incident of the disciples on the Road to Emmaus and how they recognized Jesus in the breaking of the bread. We shall hear this again in a couple of Sundays. It is a rather long citation, longer than we are usually used to. But to get the whole picture we need to keep the whole event in mind. It offers what the risen Lord taught his disciples but we wish there was more. The part I want you to focus on today is the part where Jesus explained the scriptures to the two. It really does not tell us chapter and verse of the Old Testament. And when our curiosity gets the better of us we come away puzzled even more when we cannot find a specific verse that says: The Messiah must suffer. Scripture scholars cannot find one either. This leaves us with the great desire to find exactly what Jesus did and what he talked about regarding the scriptures because in some of our Eucharistic Prayers it is explicitly stated that at Mass Jesus opens the scriptures for us. What did he do on the way toe Emmaus right away on Easter? (There are other time that he did the same.)
So we turn to our experts in the Old Testament — our Jewish friends. We ask: If you had to sum up in a sentence or two what best expresses what the whole of the scriptures is about? What is it that runs through Moses and the prophets? What do you sing of in your psalms the most? They would say: Yahweh loves his people. The love of God for us is supreme and we sing: Alleluia! Give thanks to the Lord for he is good, for his faithful covenant love endures for ever. Jesus sang this the night before he died. Jesus lived this every day. His entire life — everything he said and did — revealed his Father’s love. So it is fair to say that Jesus’ death and resurrection tells us that according to the Father’s love he has conquered death for us in the face of great human hatred and revenge. Jesus himself explicitly said this at the Last Supper: You are my friends, the ones I love. If you love me my Father and I will love you and abide in you. You will see this when I die and rise because there is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for those he loves. This is the scriptures Old and New. We will come back to this shortly. The disciples at Emmaus caught on to this that very first Easter.
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Do not forget John the Apostle at the tomb
Easter is moving along swiftly — too swiftly — as we follow the Church’s liturgical practice of the scripture passages relative to the Resurrection of the Christ. We have already heard of Mary Magdalene, Peter and John, etc. and we shall hear of them more in the future, but today let us go back to Easter morning and the account of the empty tomb from the Gospel of John and take a second look at the faith of John himself.
So Peter and the other disciple went out and came to the tomb. They both ran, but the other disciple ran faster than Peter and arrived at the tomb first; he bent down and saw the burial cloths there, but did not go in. When Simon Peter arrived after him, he went into the tomb and saw the burial cloths there, and the cloth that had covered his head, not with the burial cloths but rolled up in a separate place. Then the other disciple also went in, the one who had arrived at the tomb first, and he saw and believed. For they did not yet understand the Scripture that he had to rise from the dead.
John may be the forgotten believer in all this. He is the disciple whom Jesus loved. He is the author of this Gospel passage. He is the one who received the gift of the Holy Spirit for close to 70 years to grow in the Christian faith and handed it on to us. He is well worth listening to. Even though the words are few, his message can have a profound influence on our faith lives. His faith and love gave him an understanding of the God’s plan, brought to perfection through Jesus Christ and his Paschal Mystery.
John gave us two comments: 1) he saw and believed; 2) the disciples as yet did not understand that the Messiah had to rise from the dead. What did he see? A tomb without a body and the burial cloths in an unusual pattern. Remember his intense love of Christ. He spent three years in close company with Jesus. John was privileged to be called along with Peter and James to witness the Transfiguration and the final prayers in the Garden of Gethsemane. John was bound to sense things that others missed. There is something there in the empty tomb that John recognized as peculiarly Jesus. I offer this possibility. John tells us of the face cloth was in a neatly rolled up fashion (strange?). Was this something Jesus did on other occasions, e.g. rolling up his dinner napkin in this way? Recall that the disciples on the Road to Emmaus recognized Jesus in the breaking of the bread — they knew it was Jesus’ habit. So with John here at the tomb. It would go something like this. John right away picked out that the face cloth was rolled up by Jesus, who must have been alive to do it. Dead men cannot do such a thing. It was signature of the living Christ. Only God’s power could nullify the effects of dying. So the power and plan of the Father was at work here or as the scriptures say: the Father raised Jesus from the dead. Peter put it that way in his Pentecost sermon: God raised him up, releasing him from the throes of death (Acts 2:24).
John was quick to realize what the Father had done in fulfilling his plan of salvation in Christ Jesus. It came to him so soon because he had accepted the love and mercy of Christ, who called him and us: Come, follow me.
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Easter is More Than One Day
One of the blessings of this Easter in the pandemic is that we have more time to contemplate what we celebrate at Easter. God is making us stay in place and look for something to do. The early Christians and for centuries took much time to fathom the depths of what Easter means for us. God wants it that way. The scriptures testify that it took time to grasp all that was happening. Mary Magdalene returned from the empty tomb not knowing what to think of things and she told Peter: We don’t know where they have taken him. So the Easter Mystery is a mystery — something to be investigated further. We find the answer in recognizing and accepting what the heavenly Father is doing in our day so that we encounter the risen Lord again in our time and bear witness to our meeting him by changing our ways which the merciful grace of God is offering us.
The Holy Spirit is with us anew enabling us to see with our eyes of Christian faith that Jesus is very much present and alive in what we are undergoing today. See the first reading of Mass for Easter Monday and Peter’s explanation of what was happening to the disciples on the First Pentecost. It is all due to the suffering, death and resurrection of Jesus. We, too, have been blessed with the presence of the risen Lord — albeit in a new way we never expected.
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SAMPLE OF HOME PRAYER FOR EASTER DAY
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.
Peace be with you.
Our Penitential Rite will take place later on when we renew our Baptismal Promises
Let us pray:
O God, who on this day, through your Only Begotten Son, have conquered death and unlocked for us the path to eternity, grant, we pray, that we who keep the solemnity of the Lord’s Resurrection may, through the renewal brought by your Spirit, rise up in the light of life.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. AMEN
Listen to the sacred scriptures:
[Go to the Today’s Readings section below on this webpage.]
Silent Reflection and/or share comments.
Homily Written for the Web —May it enhance your prayer and worship of God this day.
John, the Apostle and Gospel writer, entered the empty tomb. He saw the burial cloths arranged in an unusual and unexpected way. He saw and believed. Up to this time the disciples had not realized that according to the Scriptures the Christ would rise from the dead.
Life does not consist of just one Easter celebration but many. One Easter observance does not make or break us. This one, though, not only will be remembered but I believe cherished for the special blessings of God this year.
The Lord has shaken us a bit and forced us to pay attention to what he is doing this year and how his word has opened up to us leading us to a greater faith. The word of God comes to us in several forms. It is not only the sacred scriptures but in the prayers and sacred texts of the liturgy, the homilies, and in the events impinging on our lives, such as this pandemic. We really have spent a lifetime coming to understand better what God is saying through the scripture writers and what he is saying through liturgical practice and his inspired authors and teachers. Sometimes customs that have grown up, e.g. Easter eggs, have taken over and caused us to give more attention to them than they deserve. This has hidden the greater and essential meaning of the Easter Mystery. This year some of the less important things have been taken away from us, leaving us to contemplate the essential realities of faith, e.g. merciful covenant love behind the Father’s raising his Son from the dead.
So we continue our life’s journey and education in the faith testimony of those who have gone before us.
Today I want to turn your attention to a major teaching from the scriptures of Easter Mass. It comes from Peter’s “homily” at the house of the Roman centurion Cornelius.
To him [Jesus of Nazareth raised from the dead] all the prophets bear witness, that everyone who believes in him will receive forgiveness of sins through his name.
Together with this we place the words of John in the Gospel at seeing the burial cloths and empty tomb:
And he [John] saw and believed. For they did not yet understand the Scripture that he [Jesus] had to rise from the dead.
Peter points the fact that Easter for believers means that God has been merciful and taken away our sins. Secondly, Peter says this was part of the Old Testament tradition. John tells us that he and the other followers of Jesus did not realize until after the resurrection that the raising of Jesus from the dead was the Father’s way of removing the obstacles of sin within believers. So double result of the Easter celebrations: understanding better that God has been merciful to us.
Much more could be said along this line and you must continue to meditate on this. So can you say that you recognize that this year God has been merciful and forgiving to us and made us aware of it through the pandemic and the quarantine. God has made us realize that we have neglected others, e.g. family members, and moved us through his grace to do something about it by reaching out to them with our assistance and more frequent contacts. That is forgiveness coming from God. He has changed our lives. For this we give him thanks. Something similar might be said with regard to our study and praying of the scriptures. Through his merciful love we spend more time on his written word. For this we give him praise, and so on. Christ’s resurrection has brought us pardon for our sins as Peter said. We have grown in our knowledge of what the prophets of old have taught about the merciful God who sent us the Messiah to complete his saving plan.
So after a period of silence let us renew our Baptismal vows.
Leader: Do you renounce sin,
so as to live in the freedom of the children of God?
All: I do.
Leader: Do you renounce the lure of evil,
so that sin may have no mastery over you?
All: I do.
Leader: Do you renounce Satan,
the author and prince of sin?
All: I do.
Leader: Do you believe in God,
the Father almighty,
Creator of heaven and earth?
All: I do.
Leader: Do you believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord,
who was born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered death and was buried,
rose again from the dead
and is seated at the right hand of the Father?
All: I do.
Leader: Do you believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy Catholic Church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and life everlasting?
All: I do.
All: This is the faith of the Church, we are proud to profess it in Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen.
We conclude with this prayer together:
Let us pray
for the Church today in celebrating Easter in this different way.
for Pope Francis, Archbishop Schnurr, and the other bishops called to lead us in these days
for all our faithful departed, especially those taken from us in recent days
for those developing remedies for the virus
for first responders and all those caring for the sick in medical facilities and at home
for those who in one way or another take care of our essential needs
for those who do not know how to pray
In Jesus’ name we pray for ever and ever. Amen.
Our Father, who art in heaven…
In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen
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Thirteenth Station – Body of Jesus is Removed from Cross with Pietà
Fourteenth Station – Body of Jesus is Placed in the Tomb with Jewish Burial Customs
It is best to consider these last two Stations together. In turning to the scriptures here you will find first the Gospel account of the caring for the body of Jesus; then an earlier Gospel account of Mary holding Jesus in her arms. They both open the scriptures to what took place immediately following the death of Jesus on the cross.
After this, aware that everything was now finished, in order that the scripture might be fulfilled, Jesus said, “I thirst.”
There was a vessel filled with common wine. So they put a sponge soaked in wine on a sprig of hyssop and put it up to his mouth.
When Jesus had taken the wine, he said, “It is finished.” And bowing his head, he handed over the spirit.
Now since it was preparation day, in order that the bodies might not remain on the cross on the sabbath, for the sabbath day of that week was a solemn one, the Jews asked Pilate that their legs be broken and they be taken down….
After this, Joseph of Arimathea, secretly a disciple of Jesus for fear of the Jews, asked Pilate if he could remove the body of Jesus. And Pilate permitted it. So he came and took his body.
Nicodemus, the one who had first come to him at night, also came bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes weighing about one hundred pounds.
They took the body of Jesus and bound it with burial cloths along with the spices, according to the Jewish burial custom.
Now in the place where he had been crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb, in which no one had yet been buried.
So they laid Jesus there because of the Jewish preparation day; for the tomb was close by.
In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that the whole world should be enrolled.
This was the first enrollment, when Quirinius was governor of Syria.
So all went to be enrolled, each to his own town.
And Joseph too went up from Galilee from the town of Nazareth to Judea, to the city of David that is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David,
to be enrolled with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child.
While they were there, the time came for her to have her child,
and she gave birth to her firstborn son. She wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
All these actions and events were determined according to the scriptures, i.e. according to God’s covenant love and plan. It was Jewish preparation day and they did not want the bodies to remain on the cross on the sabbath, for the sabbath day of that week was a solemn one [Passover]. This also explains why there was a providential pause in the burial rite — sunset on Friday to Easter dawn. The burial was not complete and the finding of the empty tomb and resurrection appearances of Jesus happened before his followers could do all they intended in a human way. Their weeping at the empty tomb on Sunday morning were partially perhaps because they were stopped from completing the traditional rituals. This attests to the depth and strength of their faith. They rigorously observed the Sabbath out of reverence for God and his ways — their faithfulness to his covenant. So look at the people involved and their love of God and love of Jesus. Joseph of Arimathea saw God’s presence in Jesus and his work. The puzzle of why he, though innocent, was crucified was not yet solved. He still trusted in God. He truly loved Jesus and took the responsibility to care for him at his death. Nicodemus, cautiously a disciple for fear of the Jews, now willingly steps forward and puts his reputation on the line in the Council by getting involved in the burial — he put money into the project, a large sum out of love and respect. Mary Magdalene was right there and made sure she knew where he was being entombed. John stayed close to Jesus’ mother in faithfulness to promise to take care of her. All of this stems from loving Jesus in God’s name, the God of unmatchable covenant love and mercy.
Mary, Jesus’ mother, had made a promise to God, too, when she answered his call by saying: I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word. Then Elizabeth confirmed the holiness of Mary when at the Visitation she told Mary: Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled. Mary then praised God in the Magnificat: The Almighty’s faithful [merciful covenant] love extends age after age to those who fear him (Luke 1). Mary had a good memory, she kept all these things in her heart, and as she embraced the body of her son Jesus there on Calvary all these events and all these words came back to her. She certainly thought: The Lord has something more to reveal about this, it is not the end. She had pietà — loving compassion for the son of her womb given her by God. Michelangelo and other artists captured this in stone and entitled their works Pietà. This expresses very well Mary’s love of Jesus and love of God.
[You will find links to all 14 Stations at the bottom of the Blog page.]
The Twelfth Station — Jesus Dies on the Cross
It was not on the day of Jesus’ death on Calvary that Saint John, who was there, wrote his Gospel. It was much later after many years of living the faith. Let us listen to a passage from this Apostle earlier in his Gospel in which Jesus himself explains the meaning of the cross. After all, as Jesus told Saint Peter at the washing of the feet during the Last Supper: You do not understand now but you will later.
Jesus said to Nicodemus:
“No one has gone up to heaven
except the one who has come down from heaven, the Son of Man.
And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert,
so must the Son of Man be lifted up,
so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.”
For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son,
so that everyone who believes in him might not perish
but might have eternal life.
For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world,
but that the world might be saved through him.
History tells us that the Christians of the early centuries honored the cross of Jesus by placing precious jewels on it and even decorated their depictions of it in their mosaics with gold against a rich blue sky background (such as at Ravenna). This is quite a difference from the cinematic pictures of the crucifixion in the Jesus movies, where the horrible details of Jesus’ suffering and death are shown. The sad tears of Calvary have turned into the joy and hope once the eyes of faith have looked deeply into what really happened that first Good Friday — God’s love has conquered all for us through the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus. This is why it is our custom of kissing the feet of Jesus on the cross as we venerate the “glorious” instrument of our salvation in the Good Friday Liturgy.
So as we, too, stand beneath the cross today with Mary and John we see something more than a wounded and dying Jesus. The cruelty of the executioners gives way to the merciful covenant love of the Father and his Son who gather us into his everlasting company where there is no more death but eternal joy. This is the day of the great hope for which we yearn. Be sure to venerate the cross of Christ in your Good Friday worship, even it is at home. Embrace the crucified Lord by holding an image of the cross in your hands (perhaps the cross on your rosary) and reverently kiss his feet. His is the Cross of Glory (as Mary of Bethany reverenced him for his love and suffering by anointing his feet just prior to his death, John 21:1-7; see also Luke 7:38.)
We adore; you, O Christ, and we praise you,
because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.
[Other Stations of the Cross can be found in the Archives on the Blog page.]
Eleventh Station — Jesus Stretches Out His Hands to be Nailed to the Cross
Prayer was very much a part of the Passover Meal. Listen to part of the prayer of Jesus recorded by the Apostle John (17).
When Jesus had said this, he raised his eyes to heaven and said,
“Father, the hour has come. Give glory to your son, so that your son may glorify you …
They [disciples] do not belong to the world any more than I belong to the world.
Consecrate them in the truth. Your word is truth.
As you sent me into the world, so I sent them into the world.
And I consecrate myself for them, so that they also may be consecrated in truth.
I pray not only for them, but also for those who will believe in me through their word,
so that they may all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I in you,
that they also may be in us, that the world may believe that you sent me.
And I have given them the glory you gave me, so that they may be one, as we are one,
I in them and you in me, that they may be brought to perfection as one,
that the world may know that you sent me, and that you loved them even as you loved me.
Father, they are your gift to me. I wish that where I am they also may be with me,
that they may see my glory that you gave me,
because you loved me before the foundation of the world.
Righteous Father, the world also does not know you,
but I know you, and they know that you sent me.
I made known to them your name and I will make it known,
that the love with which you loved me may be in them and I in them.
Just hours separate this prayer of Jesus from his meeting of his executioners on Calvary. The sentiments he expressed in this prayer certainly continue in his mind and now the prayer goes on as they nailed him to the cross: Father, forgive them know not what they do (Luke 23:34). The mercy of God is at work throughout the whole of the Passion accounts. This is the merciful love in the prayer of Jesus above. Jesus is totally immersed in the Father’s love for him since the foundation of the world. Jesus prays that we accept the love of the Father for us and he prays that his executioners accept that forgiving love as well. So the whole event of nailing Jesus to the cross is a lesson in mercy. Jesus learned from his Father to regard people not by appearances alone but to look into the depths of their reality. So here Jesus does not gaze upon the soldiers merely as soldiers doing their duty but as sons of God, called by him to eternal covenant union in his loving presence. That is where his prayer comes from. This is the truth for which he prays in the passage from John above. The amazing thing — to the glory of God — that runs throughout Jesus’ passion is that his commitment to his Father in the depths of his soul directs his words and actions even under these unusual circumstances. He forgives his executioners; he prays to his loving Father while on the cross; he shows a heavenly love for his mother; he hands over his spirit to the Father. He never forgets who he is in the sight of his Father. The nailing to the cross is not separate from all that is going on. There is a consistency in God’s plan and a consistency of love in all that Jesus does, including offering his hands to be nailed — from the depths of his soul he freely and lovingly accepts the cross according to the Father’s will. It is all for the glory of God and our salvation, just as Jesus had prayed.
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Tenth Station — On Calvary Jesus is Stripped of His Garments
Let us listen to Jesus at another time and another mountain when his glory was displayed in a different way.
After six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John his brother, and led them up a high mountain by themselves.
And he was transfigured before them; his face shone like the sun and his clothes became white as light.
And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, conversing with him.
Then Peter said to Jesus in reply, “Lord, it is good that we are here. If you wish, I will make three tents* here, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.”
While he was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud cast a shadow over them, then from the cloud came a voice that said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.”
When the disciples heard this, they fell prostrate and were very much afraid.
But Jesus came and touched them, saying, “Rise, and do not be afraid.”
And when the disciples raised their eyes, they saw no one else but Jesus alone.
Now we find Jesus on “Mount” Calvary and exposed for the world to see. This takes us back to the Mount of Transfiguration. He wants us to remember his glory even under these different conditions. That is why the incident of the Transfiguration came at a time immediately after his foretelling of his suffering and death. We can even see a connection with the same three disciples who would be given special closeness to Jesus in Gethsemane. He calls us this day to gaze upon his human weakness and disfigurement and at the same time to see with eyes of faith his glory as the risen Son of God. When he is stripped of his earthly garments we see his wounds all the more clearly, even more than just his wounded face. The humanness and the divinity are together. He is the Son of God made man. But why? For our salvation, reconciled eternally to the Father of the Covenant, everlasting communion of man with God. The Lord wants us to see that today and reaffirm our faith in Jesus the Suffering Servant of God and man.
We adore you, O Christ, and we praise you,
Because by your cross you have redeemed the world.
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