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Friday, March 29, 2013

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Good Friday

Isaiah 52:13—53:12
Hebrews 4:14-16; 5:7-9
Psalm 31:2, 6, 12-13, 15-17, 25
John 18:1—19:42

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taking it personally

Jesus "bowed His head, and delivered over His spirit." —John 19:30

During Lent, many churches depict the crucifixion of Jesus graphically. They show movies or slides showing the brutality of Jesus' crucifixion. Some churches display a real crown of thorns or even have you hear the pounding of the hammer driving nails into Jesus' flesh. The purpose of this is to show people that Jesus literally suffered and died for them and that the crucifixion is not just a story. A graphic depiction of Jesus' crucifixion is an occasionally successful attempt to lead secularized, lukewarm people to repentance.

However, for those who have a total, personal relationship with Jesus, these realistic recollections of Jesus' crucifixion are torture. What if your older brother was tortured and executed? Would you watch the video of His execution? Would you go to a play that dramatized his torture? Could you stand to hear the pounding, gasps, and grunts which were the sound-track of his sufferings? For hundreds of years after Jesus' death, Christians never put a representation of Jesus' body on the cross. His death was so personal to them that they couldn't bear to recall the details of His appearance, "so marred was His look beyond that of man, and His appearance beyond that of mortals" (Is 52:14).

This doesn't mean we should get rid of our crucifixes. It does mean that a deep, total, personal relationship with Jesus, our older Brother, should determine how we react to everything, including the depictions of Jesus' death.

Prayer:  Jesus, may I react to Your death as I would react to the death of the person I love most in this world. May the deepest personal relationship in my life be with You.

Promise:  "Son though He was, He learned obedience from what He suffered; and when perfected, He became the Source of eternal salvation for all who obey Him." —Heb 5:8-9

Praise:  (none)

Rescript:  †Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, September 13, 2012

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