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Thursday, April 14, 2011

Via Dolorosa 11/14…Jesus Is Nailed To The Cross

These final days of Lent 2011, we reflect on our journey with Jesus, who “went out, carrying His Cross, to the place called “the place of the skull”, which is called in Hebrew, Golgotha” (John 19:17).  I continue to pray that the contemplation of these last few holy steps of Christ’s journey will quietly speak to your heart.

“Adoramus te, christe, et benedicimus tibi, quia per crucem tuam redemisti mundum.

We adore Thee O Christ, and we praise Thee - Because by Thy holy cross Thou hast redeemed the world.”

– The Testament of St. Francis of Assisi – 1182 - 1226

Scripture Reading:

“Yet it was our infirmities that he bore, our sufferings that he endured, while we thought of him as stricken, as one smitten by God and afflicted.  But he was pierced for our offenses, crushed for our sins, upon him was the chastisement that makes us whole, by his stripes we were healed.  We had all gone astray like sheep, each following his own way; but the Lord laid upon him the guilt of us all.” (Isaiah 53:4-6, NAB)

“My mouth is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth; you lay me in the dust of death.  Dogs surround me, a pack of villains encircles me; they pierce my hands and my feet.  All my bones are on display; people stare and gloat over me.” (Psalm 22:15-17, NIV)
“And it was the third hour, and they crucified him. And the inscription of his cause was written over: THE KING OF THE JEWS.  And with him they crucify two thieves; the one on his right hand, and the other on his left.  And the scripture was fulfilled, which saith: and with the wicked he was reputed.” (Mark 15:25-28, Douay Rheims)
“And bearing his own cross, he went forth to that place which is called Calvary, but in Hebrew Golgotha.  Where they crucified him, and with him two others, one on each side, and Jesus in the midst.  And Pilate wrote a title also, and he put it upon the cross.  And the writing was: JESUS OF NAZARETH, THE KING OF THE JEWS.  This title therefore many of the Jews did read: because the place where Jesus was crucified was nigh to the city: and it was written in Hebrew, in Greek, and in Latin.” (John 19:17-20, Douay Rheims)

Simply Reflect:

Jesus, my Lord, at the summit of Golgotha, you see the Cross laid out on the rocky ground.  You also noticed that one other cross was already up, the victim groaning in extreme pain. Another cross was being pushed up.  You knew what was to happen next.  You cannot possibly imagine the unbelievable cruelty of what is to come.

A soldier rudely offered you a drink of vinegar and gall…to numb the pain, he claim…or to accelerate the bleeding?  There was simply no need to know…it does not matter anymore.

What began as the agony and anguish in the garden of Gethsemane is about to be fulfilled soon.  Jesus, your whole destructed body still trembling and bleeding from the journey and the weight of the Cross…but you will freely take upon yourself all the remaining pain and torture…waiting to be nailed on the Cross...with all the sins of humanity.  Jesus, you quietly kissed the dusty ground of Golgotha…

“Yet I, like a trusting lamb led to slaughter, had not realized that they were hatching plots against me: “Let us destroy the tree in its vigor; let us cut him off from the land of the living, so that his name will be spoken no more.”” (Jeremiah 12:19, NAB)

Lord, throughout your life on earth, you have never felt so humiliated, so despised.  You still hear the mocking, the urging, the pushing…yes, they all want to see this happen…now.

The executioners wasted no time…they drag you towards the rough beams of the blood stained Cross…it seemed larger than the rest…they lifted you up without any sympathy or mercy…the wounds all over your torn body split open again, the wooden splinters pierced into the wounds…

The soldiers screamed at you to lift yourself up…Lord, you were just too weak…  The devil had already induced them (John 13:2, NAB)

While they held you against the beams of the Cross, you looked up toward the high Heaven…recalling the assuring Word of the Father…

“…Look up at the sky and count the stars, if you can. Just so…shall your descendants be.” (Genesis 15:5, NAB)

“You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.” (Mark 1:11, NAB)
From the corner of your swollen eyes, you stole a glimpse of the rusty nails on the ground…the soldiers grab both your arms and stretched them wide.

They forced open both your bloodied hands…a huge iron hammer struck the nail repeatedly…piercing the flesh of your lower palms…going through the wooden beam of the Cross…crushing the bones…the heartless executioners repeated the same process on the other hand…no pity…no feelings…no blood gush forth because it was hammered so tight. These are the hands that healed and sow the seeds.

Jesus, at that very moment, the Cross and you became one.  The pain was simply beyond compare…yet, not a sound…not a murmur from you, my Lord.  Your outstretched arms embraced the Cross.  The familiar Word of God ringed through your mind…

“I am the Lord. I will free you… deliver you from their slavery. I will rescue you by my outstretched arm…” (Exodus 6:6, NAB)

The crowd roared but there were a few who were stunned motionless by the sheer cruelty and absolute silence from you.

In a distance, some of the disciples stared at the pierced hands…the very hands which had washed their feet not so long ago.  In your heart, you pondered…

“…Do you realize what I have done for you?” (John 13:12, NAB)

“…What I am doing, you do not understand now, but you will understand later.” (John 13:7, NAB)

The soldiers came back again, this time violently flattening your bended knees, put both your feet together and hammered a long nail through the arch of both feet, deep into the wood of the Cross below.  The same feet that walked on waters.

“My God, my God, why…why…” (Psalm 22:2, NAB)

“…The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom do I fear?  The Lord is my life's refuge; of whom am I afraid?” (Psalm 27:1, NAB)

Following this, the inscription, “IESVS•NAZARENVS•REX•IVDÆORVM (Iesus Nazarenus, Rex Iudaeorum)” was nailed above my thorn-crowned head.  It is almost done.  It saddens Jesus as He heard the Pharisees, the High Priests praying aloud…

“O God, I thank you that I am not like the rest of humanity - greedy, dishonest, adulterous…” (Luke 18:11, NAB)

As Jesus glanced at His Mother weeping, He quietly prayed the Psalms…

“To all my foes I am a thing of scorn, to my neighbors, a dreaded sight, a horror to my friends.  When they see me in the street, they quickly shy away.  I am forgotten, out of mind like the dead; I am like a shattered dish.” (Psalm 31:12-13, NAB)

The hour has come.  God has been nailed to the Cross.

Quiet Pondering:

“If any man have ears to hear, let him hear. And he said to them: Take heed what you hear.  In what measure you shall mete, it shall be measured to you again, and more shall be given to you.  For he that hath, to him shall be given: and he that hath not, that also which he hath shall be taken away from him.” (Mark 4:23-25, Douay Rheims)

“You shall be my people, and I will be your God.” (Jeremiah 30:22, NAB)

“Stay a while and contemplate these pierced hands and feet…this body covered with wounds…  This head pierced through and through by cruel thorns, fouled with dirt, bathed in sweat and blood.

Wonder and marvel at My silence, patience and resignation under such brutal treatment.  Ask yourself who suffer? Who is the victim of such barbarity?  It is JESUS CHRIST, the very Son of God, Maker of heaven and earth and of all things…who causes plants to grow and every living thing to prosper...  Who created man, and whose power sustains all things…  Behold Him unable to move, an object of scorn, despoiled of all.”
(The Way of Divine Love, p298, Sister Josefa Menendez)

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