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Home / Weekly Message / Weekly Message 03-14-10: Fourth Sunday Of The Great Fast
Weekly Message 03-14-10:  Fourth Sunday Of The Great Fast

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Fourth Sunday of the Great Fast

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.
The life that I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son
of God,
who loved me and gave himself for me
Galatians 2: 20.

St. Paul makes plain for; us in the epistle lesson a decisive truth for all believers. He assures us, "...we who have sought refuge in holding fast the hope set before us. This hope we have, as a sure and firm anchor of the soul, reaching even behind the veil where our forerunner Jesus has entered for us, having become a high priest forever..." Hebrews 6: 18,19.

Undoubtedly, the father and hopeful man of the afflicted son in today's gospel narrative grasps on the inspired and uplifting as well as encouraging hope received from the promises made to Abraham. He comes to the Lord for fulfillment and completion. He and the son have endured so severely. He approaches the disciples, but they are unable to rescue him. Unknowingly he has been carrying his own cross faithfully; he has been crucified in his own life. He has thought about his circumstances and so he sees the only solution is to approach the Lord.

Studying, contemplating and praying about the crucifixion accounts in the gospel has become a way for believers to keep vigilance over their souls during times of fearful destruction. We do not exercise a blind sort of faith because we hope in the Lord that good will be worked out of the worst of our circumstances. We choose to trust that eventually something new and remarkable will be built by our Creator God out of the destruction of our lives.

Just as it was obviously for the stricken father and son, so it can become for us a litany of introspection and meditation as well as profound and soul-changing learning:

Crucifixion means being betrayed by people who are trusted, being abandoned by those most counted on and loved. This is what it was like for you, Lord Jesus. Help me, like you, to submit to the meaning of this pain.

Crucifixion means being pinioned to pain that lasts long enough to do the work of God only this kind of suffering is able to do.

This is what it was like for you, Lord Jesus. Help me, like you, to submit to the meaning of this pain.

Crucifixion means feeling a silence on the part of our heavenly Father that makes it seem as though He is not present, as though, indeed, He has abandoned us.

Crucifixion means being stripped of all those things we hold dear and from which we gain our identity, being stripped to the point of humiliating nakedness.

This was what it was like for you, Lord Jesus. Help me, like you, to submit to the meaning of this pain.

Crucifixion means enduring a period of bruising, beating and battering, to which we bow with our own silence and acceptance in our own guilt.

This was the way it was like for you, Lord Jesus. Help me, like you, to submit to the meaning of this pain.

Crucifixion means entering into a profound aloneness; people can stand beside us, but they cannot truly experience our degradation and suffering.

This is what it was like for you, Lord, Jesus. Help me, like you, to submit to the meaning of this pain.

Crucifixion means undergoing a gathering of the powers of darkness against us, and in our frailty being unsure of the ultimate outcome.

This was what it was like for you, Lord Jesus. Help me, like you, to submit to the meaning of this pain.

What do we do with all these worries and concerns?

Like the father, we literally take these concerns to the cross. Certainly it was in the hope of God's goodness and mercy that today's man approaches the Lord and submits his need to the will of God. Next time we are pre-occupied with a health or financial concern, take the spiritual trip to the hill at Golgotha. Invest a few more moments looking at a piece of the passion. Run your thumb over the tip of the spear. Balance a spike in the palm of your hand. Read the wooden sign written in your own language above his head. And as you do, touch the velvet dirt, moist and still warm with the blood of God.

Blood He bled for you.

The spear He took for you.

The nails He felt for you.

The sign He left for you.

He did all this for you. Knowing this, knowing all He did for you there, don't you think He will look out for your needs here and now?

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