Living in the Two Hearts

My Spiritual Insights and Musings

Archive for March, 2017

Holy Week Part III…Good Friday reflection continues

Posted by Anne Elizabeth on March 31, 2017

"Come all who are weary, and I will give you rest."

“Come all who are weary, and I will give you rest.”

CHRISTIAN PRAYER: Wednesday, Holy Week, Evening Prayer: READING: Ephesians 4: 32- 5:2 (emphasis added with commentary)

Be kind to one another, compassionate, and mutually forgiving, just as God has forgiven you in Christ

“And forgive us our transgressions as we forgive those who transgress against us.” ~Mt 6:12

Be imitators of God as His dear children.  Follow the way of LOVE, even as Christ LOVED YOU.

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, GOD’S OWN PEOPLE, that you may declare the wonderful deeds of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.” ~1Peter 2:9 (emphasis added)

He gave Himself for us as an offering to God, a gift of pleasing fragrance.

The Word of the Lord … Thanks be to God!

*** *** ***

Holy Thursday leading into Good Friday

A quick review…

Feast of Unleavened Bread

Jesus KNEW His hour had come…

And He said to them, “I have earnestly desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer.” ~Lk 22:15

Jesus had sent Peter and John into Jerusalem to find place for them to celebrate the Passover.  He said to them…

“Behold, when you have entered into the city, a man carrying a jar of water will meet you; follow him into the house which he enters, and tell the householder, ‘ The Teacher says to you, Where is the guest room, where I am to eat the Passover with my disciples?’ And he will show you a large upper room furnished; there make ready.” ~Lk 22: 10-13

When Peter and John found everything as Jesus had said, they made ready for the celebration of the Passover according to the Essence calendar, which, according to the Dead Sea Scrolls, celebrated the Passover two days before the rest of Jerusalem.

A scroll from the Dead Sea caves…

It is important to NOTE: the Dead Sea Scrolls are the records of this ancient community that lived outside of Jerusalem and paid STRICT ATTENTION to the ritual purification requirements of the Law as well as other requirements not readily observed by average Jew.

It is quite possible that the house, which Jesus came to, was something of a preparatory location for those who wanted to become full members of the religious group – similar to the formation houses that Religious communities have today.

At any rate, Jesus followed this calendar and celebrated the Passover with His disciples on Thursday (our calendar) and not on Saturday (our calendar) when the rest of Jerusalem would celebrate the Passover Feast (When I say ‘our calendar’, I’m speaking of the difference between the Roman calendar – which we use – and the Lunar calendar which the ancient Hebrew people used).

To read what took place on that Faith Filled Day, click here

Jesus celebrated Passover on Thursday and was crucified, died, and was buried on Friday, so the Agony in the Garden (1st Sorrowful Mystery), must have also occurred Thursday but in the evening. 

All four (4) Gospels bear much of the Passion, from the Institution of the Eucharist (beginning), to the account in the Garden at Gethsemane (middle) concluding with His Crucifixion and Death (end).  I will flow back and forth, giving the reader the fullness of the Gospel accounts of Him who was “made sin for us” and died to free us from that sin, emphasizing a few minor details to keep the picture in perspective.

JESUS INSTITUTES THE EUCHARIST…

This IS MY BODY…

And He took bread, and when He had given thanks He broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is My Body which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of Me.” And likewise the cup after supper, saying, “This cup which is poured out for you is the New Covenant in My blood…” ~Lk 22: 19-20, (emphasis added)

Drink of it, all of you; for this is My Blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins…” ~Mt 26: 27c-28, (emphasis added)

This in turn…INSTITUTES THE PRIESTHOOD

Who was to carry on the work that Jesus began?  Kind of obvious, isn’t it?  Those whom He had chosen.  The Apostles that numbered 12, although one of them would betray Him.

WHAT DID JESUS ASK THEM TO DO? 

As the Father LOVES Me…

Be servants to one another…

Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master; nor is he who is sent greater than he who sent him. ~Jn 13:16

And He said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and those in authority over them are called benefactors. But not so with you; rather let the greatest among you become as the youngest, and the leader as one who serves. For which is the greater, one who sits at table, or one who serves? Is it not the one who sits at table? But I am among you as One who serves. Lk 22: 25-27

Remain in His words…

Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will persecute you; if they kept My word, they will keep yours also. Jn 15:20

Honor one another…

When He had washed their feet, and taken His garments, and resumed His place, He said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord; and you are right, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s  feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you. Jn 13: 12-15, (emphasis added)

Do this in Remembrance of Him…

“ This is My Body which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of Me.” And likewise the cup after supper, saying, “ This cup which is poured out for you is the New Covenant in My blood…” ~Luke 22: 19b-20

So the Apostles, in repeating the words of Christ, are then able to re-create the Last Supper, bringing the Eucharist from bread and wine, and becoming the Body – Blood – Soul – and Divinity of Jesus Christ,  JUST AS JESUS DID at the Last Supper!

The Apostles continued to  follow Jesus’ example and His later command,…

“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all I have commanded you.” ~Mt 28: 19-20

…they appointed others to take their place and assist them in the work Jesus called them to.

And who are the successors of the Apostles?  The Bishops!  And who do the Bishops appoint to assist them?  The Priest!  All Bishops & Cardinals are priests elevated to a higher calling.  Once a priest, always a priest.  The mark of Holy Orders is indelible – permanent.

Ta-dum!  The institution of the Priesthood!

JESUS GIVES THEM THE GREATEST COMMAND…

OBEDIENCE

Love One Another as I have Loved you…

“As the Father has loved Me, so have I loved you; abide in My LOVE. If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My LOVE, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His LOVE.

“This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down His life for His friends.”~ Jn 15: 9-10, 12-13

The Parable of the Faithful Steward: Be on the alert.  You know not the day or the hour when an accounting will be asked.  The Parable of the Ten Wise and Ten Foolish Virgins: Stay awake! The Parable of the Talents: Well done!  Good and Faithful Servant!  There is a hint of danger and disaster in the air.  These parables are followed by the Parable of the Last Judgment, as they look down on the Valley of Jehoshaphat, Jesus giving them His commandment of unconditional love. ~Fr Clifford Stevens, Homily, Wednesday of Holy Week.

AS MANY KNOW…

Not all of Jesus’ disciples followed and believed everything He taught.  For there was one that would betray Him…

The stage is set for what none of them believed or accepted: the complete failure of this Prophet of Nazareth, the final disaster that Jesus has constantly told them about…and for the mightiest work  of God in the history of Israel. ~Fr Clifford Stevens, Homily, Wednesday of Holy Week.

Now, there has been much speculation surrounding the person of Judas Iscariot, speculation that I wish to lay to rest here and now.

WHO WAS JUDAS ISCARIOT…?

All we know FOR SURE is that Judas carried the community purse…

Woe to him who would betray the Son of Man…

Now no one at the table knew why [Jesus] said this to him.  Some thought that, because Judas had the money box, Jesus was telling him, “Buy what we need for the feast”; or, that he should give something to the poor. ~Jn 13: 28-29

One thing is for sure!  He sure loved the money…

But Judas Iscariot, one of His disciples (he who was to betray Him), said, ” Why was this ointment not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?” This he said, not that he cared for the poor but because he was a thief, and as he had the money box he used to take what was put into it. Jn 12: 4-6, (emphasis added)


He loved it so much that he was willing to hand over Jesus for more money…

They paid him 30 pieces of silver…

Then Judas Iscariot, who was one of the twelve, went to the chief priests in order to betray him to them.  And when they heard it they were glad, and promised to give him money. ~ Mk 14: 10-11, (emphasis added)

Then one of the twelve, who was called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and said, “What will you give me if I deliver him to you?” And they paid him thirty pieces of silver. ~Mt 26: 14-15, (emphasis added)

Thus – Judas Iscariot was a traitor, a liar, and a thief and had nothing to do with the common heart of LOVE that Jesus imparted to the other Eleven Apostles.

DID JESUS KNOW THIS…?

Right from the beginning He knew the one that would betray Him…

Jesus answered them, “Did I not choose you, the twelve, and one of you is a devil?” He spoke of Judas the son of Simon Iscariot, for he, one of the twelve, was to betray Him. ~Jn 6: 70-71, (emphasis added)

DID JUDAS RECEIVE THE EUCHARIST…?

Alas, yes, poor soul! 

When it was evening, He sat at table with the twelve disciples; and as they were eating, He said, “Truly, I say to you, one of you will betray Me.”…

The Son of Man goes as it is written of Him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been better for that man if he had not been born.”

Judas, who betrayed Him, said, “Is it I, Master?”* He said to him, “You have said so.”  Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed, and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.”…~ Mt 26: 20, 24-25, 26-27a, (emphasis added)

At NO TIME did Judas leave the table.  We see that again in Luke’s account…

And He took bread, and when He had given thanks He broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is My Body which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of Me.”

And likewise the cup after supper, saying, “This cup which is poured out for you is the New Covenant in My Blood. But behold the hand of him who betrays Me is with me on the table. For the Son of Man goes as it has been determined; but woe to that man by whom He is betrayed!” And they began to question one another, which of them it was that would do this. ~Lk 22: 19-23, (emphasis added)

“Judas…couldn’t perceive the gift being offered to him or identify the One giving it. Even after all the time he had spent with Jesus, Judas still couldn’t accept Him in the way Peter and the others had.  His heart hardened by the choices he had made, was closed.  As a result, he ate and drank his own condemnation.” ~Word Among Us, devotional, Tuesday, April 19th, Holy Week.

Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the BODY and BLOOD of the Lord. Let a man examine himself [CONFESSION], and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For any one who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment upon himself.

GnosticGospel

The final speculation circulates around the GNOSTIC GOSPEL of Judas.  The key word here is GNOSTIC – meaning it has NOTHING TO DO with Sacred Scripture!  It even contradicts Sacred Scripture, thus proving a warning that St Paul gave centuries earlier before this piece of heresy was written…

I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you in the grace of Christ and turning to a different gospel– not that there is another gospel, but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ.

But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to that which we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again, If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to that which you received, let him be accursed. ~Gal 1: 6-9, (emphasis added)

And that’s what the GNOSTIC GOSPEL does.  It confuses and leads astray, giving Judas Iscariot a place of HONOR rather than CONDEMNATION for his actions.  The circulating theory these days asks something like this…

Was [Judas] disillusioned and beginning to realize that Jesus is not going to declare Himself the new king of Israel, and that, instead of being part of a glorious triumph over Israel’s oppressors, He is going to seem part of a giant conspiracy to overthrow the government [cf Jn 11: 49b-50]? 

There are those who think that, after viewing all the miracles of Jesus and His power over wind and wave, and even death itself, Judas wanted to stir Jesus into action, as so devised a situation where He would have to act, after all, did the Master not tell His disciples to bring their swords along to Gethsemane [Lk 22: 37-38]?

Was [Judas] really a guerilla-fighter all along, and is it true, as some scholars believe, that his name … has been mistranslated and …[is] really Judas the Sicarii, one of the political assassins whose hatred for the Romans drove them to violence and that, when Jesus did not share their plans for revolution, decided to get rid of Him…and follow another leader, perhaps one named ‘Barabbas’? ~Fr Clifford Stevens, Homily, Tuesday of Holy Week, addressing the misunderstandings surrounding Judas Iscariot, emphasis added by me.

There really is only one answer to this kind of speculation which our holy priest does denounce in his homily later on…

If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to that which you received, let him be accursed.~Gal 1:9

St. Paul the Apostle says:  “For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own likings, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander into myths”. ~ 2 Tim 4:3-4 (emphasis added)

I have betrayed innocent blood!

It’s this speculation that IGNORES what we know of Judas – what the SACRED SCRIPTURES tell us of Judas Iscariot.  IF Judas was a revolutionary, and his “steeling funds” was part of a fund raising effort to finance that revolution, WHY THEN did he violently return the 30 pieces of silver – a day’s wage – to the Pharisees claiming that he had betrayed innocent blood?

When Judas, His betrayer, saw that [Jesus] was condemned, he repented and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and the elders, saying, “I have sinned in betraying innocent blood.” ~Mt 27: 3-4

Wouldn’t he NOT HAVE CARED?  Instead, would Judas not have worked with his fellow revolutionaries to free Barabbas and begin the revolution? 



Not only did Judas return the money, he then despaired and hung himself on a tree…

And throwing down the pieces of silver in the temple, he departed; and he went and hanged himself. ~Mt 27: 5

Not the actions of someone who would be full of hope in starting a revolution.  Or someone who was sure that Christ would bring His kingdom to earth to spare His Crucifixion. Thus PROVING CONCLUSIVELY that Gnostic Gospels SHOULD BE LEFT ALONE by all faithful followers of Christ!

If you have a strong enough stomach, you can read in Acts 1: 16-20, about what happened when some of the Apostles finally discovered Judas hanging on that tree outside of Jerusalem.

IN THE GARDEN…

…not My will, but Your Will be done.

If you have ever seen Mel Gibson’s the Passion of the Christ, then you are very familiar with the scene in the Garden at Gethsemane.  A very accurate pictorial account that we find in both the Gospels of Matthew and Mark. A powerful scene of the great agony Jesus suffered, so great that…

…being in an agony He prayed more earnestly; and His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down upon the ground. Lk 22:44

What could have caused Jesus to have such a reaction?  Well, Jesus was TRUE MAN and TRUE GOD, and He often spoke of the kind of persecution and death He would endure.  So I think it’s safe to say that Jesus was preparing Himself for all that His HUMANITY would have to endure to FULFILL what His GODHEAD had promised to Abraham long ago…



“Look toward heaven, and number the stars, if you are able to number them.” Then He said to him, “So shall your descendants be.”

When the sun had gone down and it was dark, behold, a smoking fire pot and a flaming torch passed between these pieces. On that day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying, “To your descendants I give this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the river Euphrates, the land of the Kenites, the Kenizzites, the Kadmonites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Rephaim, the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Girgashites and the Jebusites.” ~ Gen 15: 5, 17-21

…as God said, “I will live in them and move among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. Therefore come out from them, and be separate from them, says the Lord, and touch nothing unclean; then I will welcome you, and I will be a father to you, and you shall be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.” ~2 Cor 6: 16c-18

And at the PRICE of God’s own Son… to be continued…

Watch and REMEMBER what God did for YOU…

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Holy Week Part II… Good Friday

Posted by Anne Elizabeth on March 30, 2017

Come to My Most Sacred Heart…

THE DIVINE MERCY NOVENA BEGINS TODAY! Visit HERE… It’s printable, too.

READING : 1 Peter 2:21-24 (Evening Prayer, Good Friday, emphasis added)

Christ suffered for you and left you an example, to have you following His footsteps.  He did no wrong; no deceit was found in His mouth.  When He was insulted, He returned no insultWhen He was made to suffer, He did not counter with threats.  Instead, He delivered Himself up to the One who judges justly.  In His own body He brought your sins to the Cross, so that all of us, dead to sin, could live in accord with God’s Will.  By His wounds you were healed.

The Word of the Lord… Thanks be to God…

Good Friday and Holy Saturday

Whew!  What a mouth-full…I might have to consider shortening the title… 🙂

But until then, let us begin our focus, that is The Passion of Christ that leads to His Resurrection and gives us a better understanding of the Mercy that is ours, especially on DIVINE MERCY SUNDAY, the SECOND Sunday of Easter.

THE PASSION: First Sorrowful Mystery: Agony in the Garden

BETRAYAL!

And they went to a place which was called Gethsemane; and He said to His disciples, “Sit here, while I pray.” And He took with Him Peter and James and John, and began to be greatly distressed and troubled.  And He said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch.” ~Mk 14: 32-34

It is here that we begin…it is here that we see Jesus in His full humanity.  Sorrowful, even unto death, wanting nothing more than to have the support of His most intimate friends, those whom He chose to witness His very GLORY in the Godhead at His Transfiguration:

This is My Beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased. Listen to Him.

And after six days Jesus took with Him Peter and James and John his brother, and led them up a high mountain apart. And He was transfigured before them, and His face shone like the sun, and His garments became white as light. ~Mt 17: 1-2

But for whatever reason, His most intimate friends, those He trusted so much to stay with Him and pray for that which was to come, they could NOT stay awake.  They did not follow His request to PRAY and WATCH.  In a very real sense, Jesus was betrayed in that they failed Him when He needed them most…

And He came and found them sleeping, and He said to Peter, “Simon, are you asleep? Could you not watch one hour? Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation; the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” ~Mk 14: 37-38

For Jesus’ hour was fast approaching when another kind of betrayal would fall upon Him and Jesus would be turned over to those who had plotted and schemed His death almost from the very earliest moments of His ministry…

“What are we to do?  For this man performs many signs.  If we let Him go on thus, everyone will believe in Him, and the Romans will come and destroy both our holy place and our nation!”

“You know nothing at all;  you do not understand that it is expedient for you that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation should not perish.” ~Jn 11: 47b-48, 49b-50

And what did Jesus in His humanity pray?  How did Jesus feel about the coming persecution that He KNEW He was about to endure?  Mark’s Gospel account tell us that…

Father if it be possible…Not My will but Yours Be done!

And going a little farther, He fell on the ground and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from Him.  And He said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible to Thee; remove this cup from Me; yet not what I will, but what Thou will.” ~Mk 14: 35-36

Three times Jesus prayed, three times He struggled against the temptation to give in to the flesh and flee from what was before Him.  But Jesus knew His Father would strengthen Him in His most desperate hour of need.

Which is why John’s Gospel account has Jesus proclaiming God’s triumph and Matthew’s Gospel account demonstrates that TOTAL TRUST the Son has for the Father and gives US the example we need to also follow in the TOTAL TRUST of OUR FATHER…

…He lifted His eyes to Heaven and said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify Thy Son that the Son may glorify Thee, since Thou hast given Him power over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom Thou hast given Him…” ~Jn 17: 1b-2

“My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, Thy will be done.” ~Mt 26:42b

Resolved and ready to face what Jesus knew needed to be for the Salvation of the World, and the fulfillment of the Promise the Father made to Abraham, Jesus went to His chosen friends to WAKE THEM UP and prepare them for the Unthinkable!

And again He came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were very heavy; and they did not know what to answer Him. And He came the third time, and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and taking your rest? It is enough; the hour has come; the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. Rise, let us be going; see, my betrayer is at hand.” ~Mk 14: 40-42

One other thought of profound significance… Could this also be for US?  Has not our Lord sent His Blessed Mother to us numerous times to try and WAKE US UP! to the sins we are committing and the fruit of death that we are now harvesting?  WAKE UP!  For our betrayer is at hand!  Cling to Christ, He is our ONLY SALVATION!

Now I switch over to John’s Gospel account because I simply love the reaction of these temple soldiers who came out with “torches and weapons”, against ONE MAN, in the dark of night, with just a handful of his followers present …Okay… what were they afraid of ?  Perhaps their hearts knew even if their mind’s did not WHO it was they were arresting…

Then Jesus, knowing all that was to befall Him, came forward and said to them, “Whom do you seek?”  They answered Him, “Jesus of Nazareth.” Jesus said to them, “I AM He.”

When He said to them, “I AM He,” they drew back and fell to the ground. ~Jn 18: 4-5, 6

I love that John tell us this, that the soldiers “drew back and fell to the ground”, all because Jesus identified Himself with the words spoken to Moses…

I AM Who I AM

“I AM Who I AM…Say to the people of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you’ “ ~Exod 3: 14

Yet despite this minor set back, the temple guards did manage to cease Jesus, but not without a little tousle given by Peter who had his sword and decided to draw it out and use it…

Jesus answered, “I told you that I AM He; so, if you seek Me, let these men go.”

Then Simon Peter, having a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s slave and cut off his right ear. The slave’s name was Malchus. Jesus said to Peter, “Put your sword into its sheath; shall I not drink the cup which the Father has given Me?” ~Jn 18: 8, 10-11

It’s in the Gospel account of Luke that we learn of Judas’ part in the betrayal as he was the one to identify Jesus with a kiss…

Would you betray the Son of Man with a kiss?

…there came a crowd and the man called Judas, one of the twelve, was leading them.  He drew near to Jesus to kiss him; but Jesus said to him, “Judas, would you betray the Son of Man with a kiss?” ~Lk 22: 47-48


It’s also in this account that we hear of Jesus’ healing the ear of the soldiers whom Peter had cut off when he had drawn his sword…

And He touched his [Malichus] ear and healed him. ~Lk 22:51b

Peter followed from a distance…

All four Gospel accounts tell of Peter’s “following at a distance” because we all know that Jesus told Peter…

“I tell you, Peter, the cock will not crow this day, until you three times deny that you know Me.” Lk 22:34

Yet do not be deceived, for Jesus ALSO KNEW that Peter would repent of this action and thus be ready to strengthen his fellow brethren who also could not stay by the Savior’s side…

“Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail; and when you have turned again, strengthen your brethren. Lk 22: 31-32

So even though Peter experiences that devastating blow with the fulfillment of the Savior’s words…

…three times you will deny Me… cf Mt 34c; see Lk 22:55-62; Mt 26: 69-75; Mk 14: 66-72

Peter will gather his brethren together during Holy Saturday and await for the news of Jesus Resurrection as witness by the women…but I’m jumping ahead.

He was brought before Caiaphas…

The trial before Caiaphas is anything but real, many come before them making false accusations (Mt 26:60), about the Savior King, the guards hit and buffet Jesus without cause (Lk 22:63; Jn 18:22), and through it all Jesus never spoke any words of hate or falsehood, but only of the beauty of the TRUTH that was His from the Father…

“But I tell you, hereafter you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven.” ~Mt 26:64b

Which is a DIRECT REFERENCE of the coming Kingdom of God that was revealed to us AFTER Jesus ascended into heaven and the disciple whom Jesus Loved was an old man in exile on the Greek island of Patmos…

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth;…And I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband; and I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling of God is with men.  He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more…for the former things have passed away.”

And He who sat upon the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” ~Rev 21: 1a, 2-4b, 4c, 5a

Words, that if you did watch Mel Gibson’s Passion of the Christ, that were uttered by Jesus when He met His mother on His Way of the Cross.  Jesus’ Passion and Death DID make all things NEW!

Jesus’ words were enough to condemn Him in the eyes of the Sanhedrin and fulfilled the desires of the Pharisees that…

It is is best for One Man to die than a whole nation… ~cf Jn 11:50

Now all that needed to be done was to convince Pilate that Jesus was indeed a dangerous man and deserving of death.  And convince him they did…

“…the high priest [Caiaphas, this year] who is a puppet of the Romans and remains in power only as long as he is in favor with them, remembers the terrible destruction [of Jerusalem] under Pompey… fears that this will happen again, if some self-proclaimed Messiah stirs up the people again. National aspirations and the restoration of the Kingdom of David is in the air.” ~Fr Stevens, Homily, Saturday of the 5th Week of Lent.

“Are You the king of the Jews?”

So what does Caiaphas do?  He reminds Pontius Pilate that there can be no king but Caesar(Jn 19:12).  And this Jesus is making Himself into a king, so wouldn’t that threaten the current ruler, Caesar?  After all, Pilate examined Jesus himself and asked Him…

Are you the King of the Jews? ~Jn 18:33c

Jesus asks Pilate if this question comes from him – Pilate – or because this is what those who are seeking His death have said?  Pilate answers Him…

“Am I a Jew?  Your own nation and the chief priests have handed you over to me; what have you done?” Jn 18:35

This begins one of the most interesting discourses between God and man.  Here is a man, Pilate, who has charge of an outpost in the Roman Empire that is notorious for dissenters, zealots, and assassins who would love nothing better than to be rid of the Romans…

…Judas the Cicarii, one of the political assassins whose hatred of the Romans drove them to violence… ~Fr Clifford Stevens, Homily, Tuesday of Holy Week.

And among the rebels in prison, who had committed murder in the insurrection, there was a man called Barabbas. ~Mk 15:7

He released a man who had been thrown in prison for insurrection and murder, whom they asked for; ~Lk 23:25

So Pilate really wants to understand why all this fuss…what’s the real reason for the religious leaders turning this man who seemed quite innocent, over to him to be put to death?…

For he knew it was out of envy that they had delivered Him up. ~Mt 27:18

So Jesus answers Pilate…

My kingship is not of this world; if… [it] were, My servants would fight, that I might not be handed over… ~Jn 18:36

[Pilate Answers] So you are a king? ~Jn 18:37

[Jesus responds] …For this I was born, for this I have come into the world, to bear witness to the truth.  Every one who is of the truth hears My voice.” ~Jn 18:37b

Then Pilate reveals his true motives when he asks…

What is truth? ~Jn 18:38

Have nothing to do with this Man…

So, Pilate being full aware of the turmoil that existed because of the occupation by the Romans was not interested in starting anything new.  The mere fact that he could not find any guilt in Jesus (Lk 23:14; Mk 15:14; Jn 18:38), and his wife sent him word telling him to leave Jesus alone (Mt 27:19), leaves the reader to see that Pilate was TRULY, only INTERESTED in KEEPING HIS JOB…

So when Pilate saw that he was gaining nothing, but rather that a riot was beginning, he took water and washed his hands before the crowd, saying, “I am innocent of this righteous Man’s blood;…” ~Mt 27:24

…Pilate wishing to satisfy the crowd, released for them Barabbas; and having scourged Jesus, he delivered Him to be crucified. ~Mk 15:15

And their voices prevailed…Jesus he delivered up to their will. ~Lk 23: 22c, 25c

Then he handed Him over to them to be crucified. ~Jn 19:16

Pilate had the power to release Jesus (Jn 19:10), but he also knew that TRUTH was not something he wanted to deal with.  Pilate’s truth existed in maintaining his head on his shoulders, and to go against Caesar meant losing that head.

“If you release this Man, you are not Caesar’s friend; every one who makes himself a king sets himself against Caesar!” ~Jn 19: 12b, emphasis added.

And they crucified Him…

Jesus is lead off to be put to death, a criminal’s death for He had two criminals crucified along with Him (Lk 23:32).  His hands and feet were fixed to the Cross, His garments were divided among the soldiers (Jn 19: 23-24), and prophecy upon prophecy was fulfilled (Ps 22:18, Ps 69:21; Is 2-6, Zech 12:10), and most importantly sin lost its grip on humanity!

“O death, where is thy victory? O death, where is thy sting?”  The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.  But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. ~1 Cor 15: 15c-17

Such was given to us on that fate-filled day, when the Lamb was slain, when the Church was born by His own blood and water which flowed from His side (Jn 19: 34-35), and the veil in the temple – that which separated God from the everyman – was torn in half with an earthquake that followed.  Many of the Roman soldiers then exclaimed…

“Truly this man was the Son of God!” ~Mk 15:39c

None so great a testimony to this was the Resurrection of the Son of God that followed three days later as Jesus predicted it would…

“Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem; and the Son of Man will be delivered to the chief priests and scribes, and they will condemn Him to death, and deliver Him to the Gentiles to be mocked and scourged and crucified, and He will be raised on the third day.” ~Mt 20:18-19

And it is because of that Resurrection Christ gives us His most GLORIOUS GIFT –  His DIVINE MERCY!

Watch and REMEMBER what our Lord, Jesus Christ, SUFFERED for US!

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