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Reflections, Images, and Videos for Easter Sunday

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He is RisenWe shared awesome celebrations together at St. Paul’s on Easter Day – the pinnacle of the Church Year! Here, embedded immediately below, are the videos we played on the screens to help prepare us for worship. The third video features Christina Grimmie, who, tragically, was shot to death on June 10, 2016. The fourth video is of what is called the Garden Tomb, thought by some to be the actual site of Our Lord’s burial. (We replaced the audio with this video with an instrumental version of Handel’s “Thine be the Glory.” To duplicate this, you can mute the Garden Tomb video and play the Handel video at the same time.)

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We began our 10 a.m. Liturgy with the following 2 videos.

Our Opening Hymn at 8:30 and 10:00 was the great Easter masterpiece “Jesus Christ is Risen Today.” Like those at Hereford Cathedral in the video embedded below, we raised the roof with our praise!

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Our Gospel Reading was the Resurrection of Our Lord according to Matthew

Here’s this passage as depicted in The Visual Bible’s “Gospel of Matthew” film.

[Here’s an adapted version of the sermon I preached at 8:30 and 10.]

These past few days, we’ve seen on the news the terrible chemical weapons’ attacks in Syria, deepening threat of a nuclear war with North Korea, and vicious Palm Sunday attacks on 2 Coptic Churches in Egypt.

Good Friday also marked the third anniversary of the worst mass murder in Calgary’s history. These news broadcasts from the time gives a quick glimpse at who the 5 university students who lost their lives that night were, through the grieving friends they left behind.

At that time, neighbours, friends, and strangers formed a steady stream of mourners to the site of the killings, to place flowers and other trinkets on memorials for the victims. One visitor, herself the mother of two university-aged children, endeavoured to make the site a little more comforting with her contribution. When asked about it by a reporter from the Calgary Herald, she said: “I was thinking of those kids coming here at night in the dark and the snow,” driving, as she spoke, a row of solar lanterns into the ground. “I just thought they could use a little light.”

I think this is indeed the deepest need and longing that people have – for light in the midst of this darkness – even a little light, any hope, some good news in a world like this – a world where knives, bombs, chemical weapons, and even human fists kill young and old, women and men and children, and no corner of the globe is immune from this deadly sickness.

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The Easter Gospel says that “Yes!” there is indeed Good News for a world such as this, a message that meets the very deepest yearnings and needs of our hearts.

It was born in a world such as this. Good Friday nearly 2,000 years ago saw the murder of One who was innocent. Darkness spread across the land. But as our passage begins, now dawn is beginning to break.

The passage starts with a show of devotion, courage, and love for Jesus, as two women disciples put themselves at risk by going to the tomb. 

Verse 1 says: “After the sabbath, as the first day of the week was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary [the mother of James and Joses – see 27:56] went to see the tomb.”

They have continuing devotion, but it’s to a dead Lord. They went, it says, not to see Jesus, but “to see the tomb.”

Like the people placing flowers and other gifts as memorials in the videos we just watched, the women were going to Jesus’ tomb to remember, to grieve, to honour him. Jesus was the one they’d put all their hopes in, they’d known God through him, experienced the Presence of God in him; indeed they’d even felt themselves moved to worship him – and now everything was torn apart. They were filled with the darkness of grief indeed.

And then, it all changed. Their world was literally turned upside down. There’s an earthquake, then the appearing of an angel, who rolls away the stone.

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Matthew says in wonderful irony: “For fear of him the guards shook [the same word as the one describing the earthquake] and became like dead men.”

On Good Friday, evil had seemed so powerful. But in the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus had said he could call on the Father who would at once put at his disposal 12 legions of angels. A full Roman legion was around 6,000 – so we’re talking about 72,000 angels! Here, just one angel reduces the soldiers to the powerlessness of corpses.

True power is with love and life, not hate and death.

I like this Story about the sun and a cave:

A cave heard a voice calling to it: “Come up into the light… come and see the sunshine. The cave replied: “I don’t know what you mean; there isn’t anything here but darkness.” Finally the cave ventured forth and was surprised to see light all around. Looking up to the sun, the cave said: “Come with me and see my darkness.” The sun agreed and entered the cave….”Now show me your darkness.” But there was no darkness.

empty-tombAs Phillips Brooks said:

Tomb, thou shalt not hold Him longer;
Death is strong, but Life is stronger;
Stronger than the dark, the light;
Stronger than the wrong, the right;
Faith and Hope triumphant say,
Christ will rise on Easter Day.

In the words of John’s Prologue: “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has never put it out.”

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On Good Friday, Jesus showed his love to be stronger than hate, as he took upon himself all its power, and it was unable to stop him loving. And now on Easter morn, he shows his life to be stronger than death, as he took all its power, and it was unable to stop him living.

This is where true power resides. It’s not just a nice story, a quaint bit of nostalgia. It’s the deepest reality!

This means that when we face the tragedies of life, including tragedies from human violence – when we face our own deaths, though we remember that life fragile, and precious, and that each day a gift, we also remember that the strongest power is not death, darkness, decay, and evil. Though death and darkness seem so strong, the paradox is that life is fragile, but it is also indestructible Love conquers hate. Life is victorious over death.

No wonder the angel said,  “Do not be afraid … he is raised as he said.”

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Because the One who loves us enough to die for us is so powerful that death cannot keep him bound, there is no need for us to fear!

We too are infected with darkness within. But we don’t need to fear that the darkness in us is too deep, too strong, to be dispersed. 

We can pray like St. Bonaventure:

Enter the darkness of my heart,
as your body entered the darkness of Joseph of Arimathaea’s tomb, …
driving out all … darkness that I may be filled with your light.

Jesus came to share his life with us, to take all our darkness and give us his light. We receive his life – we receive him – as a gift, and are filled with his life – raised from the death with him, never to die any more, for darkness cannot abide in the Presence of the Son.

We live in his light for now and for ever!

A phrase that should be removed from the English language is “It’s too good to be true.” For with Christ Jesus Risen, of nothing – absolutely nothing –  can this ever be true. Alleluia!

The passage continues: “So they left the tomb quickly with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples.”

They were overwhelmed by it all. But as they came to realize it was not “too good to be true,” they came to realize it was too good not to share!

Think of the most overwhelming good news you ever had. In my case, I think of my daughter, Alyssa’s birth. I didn’t say: “This is overwhelmingly wonderful! I’m just going to sit here and feel thankfully overwhelmed.” I couldn’t NOT share it. When the news is so wonderful, we CAN’T keep it to ourselves!

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So they run to share the Good News.

Our passage doesn’t end with fear, but it doesn’t end here, either. Rather, the passage ends with encounter.

As the women decide with a mixture of fear and joy to go and share, on their way, they encounter the Risen Lord himself.

When Jesus meets them, he says to them: “Chairete.” This is the normal word of greeting, but its literal meaning is “Rejoice!” Jesus wants them to have joy. And so he says the same words spoken by the angel: “Do not be afraid.”  He wants them to be set free from fear, and know joy, worship, fellowship,intimacy.

The encounter transforms them. Earlier, the angel had told them not to be afraid, but it was still with fear, mixed with joy that they ran to tell the disciples. Now Jesus says the same words to them, and as Mary Hinkle Shore notes: This time the word as it is spoken by Jesus has the desired effect. It is the last anyone speaks of fear in the Gospel.”

Jesus wants us all to be witnesses, not just of what others have said – even angels – but of our own encounter with him, our own relationship of love with our living Lord.

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Jesus begins the message they are to deliver with: “Go and tell my brothers …”

The same wording is in John (20:17) – the only places where Jesus uses this term for the apostles. They remembered that Jesus had called them this! Why was it significant? Well, they’d forsaken and denied him. They may have expected a message more like, “Go and tell those so-and-so’s …”! But Jesus has for them these words of relationship, healing. Everyone we encounter is loved by God, is precious to God. We’re called to embody this truth, helping people hear words of relationship and healing – words of love – spoken through us, as we act as agents of God’s life and light in the world.

This brings to a close my sermon. But we really have 2 sermons today – at no extra charge! Earlier this week, I came across one of the most powerful sermons I’ve ever heard. It was shared by Fr. Boules George, a Coptic Priest, on Monday evening from St. Mark’s Coptic Church in Cairo. Its title is “A Message to Those Who Kill Us.” and shows more powerfully than I could ever do the difference the Resurrection makes for us and the world. Let’s watch it together to end this sermon time.

What difference does the Resurrection make for a world like this? All the difference in the universe!

The Lord is risen. He is risen indeed! Alleluia!

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Easter Day Worship

[Here are some of the prayers we shared at our Sunrise (6:39 a.m.) Service in our Historic Chapel, adapted from these sources: http://lectionaryliturgies.blogspot.com; http://re-worship.blogspot.ca/search/label/Easter; http://www.bruceprewer.com; and http://www.rockies.net. ]

COLLECT

Early in the morning before chaos was awake, you tiptoed quietly past, Surprising God: and whispered the Word that caused grace and love to blossom into creation.

Early in the morning while the disciples slept, Jesus, Son of the Living God: you prepared a feast to fill their emptiness; you rolled away their hardened hearts to open them to your grace; you whispered their names to awaken them to new life.

Early in the morning while we are still drowsy, you sing your songs to us, Holy Spirit: hymns of hope, cantatas of compassion, psalms of peace, litanies of love.

God in Community, Holy in One, early this morning we offer ourselves to you. Amen.

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PRAYERS OF THE PEOPLE

O Risen Lord, with faces touched by the light of a new day, and hearts rejoicing in your new life, we come before you to pray for the needs of our world.

Into the light of Easter morning we raise those who are struggling with illness, with despair over their lives, or with the breakdown of relationships. (Silence)

O Risen Lord, may your light shine upon them.

Into the light of Easter morning, we bring those places in our world where war, violence, poverty and need are the experiences of everyday life. (Silence)

O Risen Lord, may your light shine upon them.

Into the light of Easter morning, we bring the headline news of this weekend. We hold in our hearts the pain of those suffering violence, bereavement, or conflict. (Silence)

O Risen Lord, may your light shine upon them.

And into the light of Easter morning we bring ourselves, the private struggles, the heart’s yearnings, the hidden dreams, the unfulfilled potential. (Silence)

O Risen Lord, may your light shine upon them.

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O Risen Lord, In the joy and hope of this Easter morning, we realize the depth and   breadth of what it means to be your Easter people. Give us the courage to bear your living love in every corner of our lives, so that your peaceable realm will be so, here on earth, as it is in heaven.

In your Name we pray. Amen.

Lord Jesus, we meet you, risen from the dead, victorious over sin and death, over suffering and shame, over all evil and wrong.

Lord Jesus, we meet you, risen from the dead, overcoming by the power of love, by patient trust and perseverance, by faith in God alone.

Lord Jesus, we meet you, risen from the dead, proving that nothing can separate us from God’s love, showing us how far that love will go, and suffering for the sins of the world.

Lord Jesus, we meet you, risen from the dead, and we offer you our thanks and our praise, our prayers and our worship, our devotion and our service. Amen.

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PRAYER OF COMMITMENT

Holy God our Salvation: you roll away the power of sin, bringing forth the One who makes everything alive. Out of the garden of violence and hate which evil has planted, bring forth, we pray, in our lives a spring harvest of love and forgiveness. 

Jesus Christ, Creation’s Gardener: you went into the grave to drive out the power of the world. Shut the doors of pain and death, and open the gates of glorious fellowship with you and one another, we pray, as we follow you as your disciples.

Holy Spirit, Anointer of new life: you speak and open our eyes to faith and touch our lips with glad songs of victory. Roll away our fears, we pray, so that we can tell everyone we have seen the Risen Lord.

God in Community, Holy in One, on this great day of Easter, may we hear your voice calling us your own, and calling us to share. Amen. Alleluia!

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At our 10 a.m. Service, we had the additional blessing of Baptizing Audrey Nixon. We share the joy of the Nixon family, and pray for God’s blessings ever to be poured out upon Audrey without measure! All of us were invited to dip our hands into the Font and make the sign of the Cross on our own foreheads as we came to receive Holy Communion, as a reminder of our own Baptisms. Thank you, Angela Richardson, for these photos of the reception we shared with Audrey and her family after the 10 a.m. Service (and for the cake we shared, also)!

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As we left our 10 a.m. Service, we listened to these songs that continued our celebration as an Easter people.

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After nearly 6 years and 813 posts, I’ve decided to take a break from blogging for the foreseeable future. Thank you to all who have followed or visited this blog (or will visit it in days to come). It’s been a great joy to be able to share the Good News of Our Risen Lord with you through this medium. I pray that he has used it to draw your hearts closer to him. To him be all the praise.

God bless you all, always.

Your Brother in Jesus,
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The Joyous Easter Message According to Matthew, Chapter 28 (Verses 1-10)

After the sabbath, as the first day of the week was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb. And suddenly there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord, descending from heaven, came and rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow. For fear of him the guards shook and became like dead men.

But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid; I know that you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for he has been raised, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples, ‘He has been raised from the dead, and indeed he is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him.’ This is my message for you.”

So they left the tomb quickly with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples. Suddenly Jesus met them and said, “Greetings!” And they came to him, took hold of his feet, and worshipped him. Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.”
(Matthew 28:1-10)

Easter-Background

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Reflections on Our Saviour’s Seven Words from the Cross – Word Seven: Father

“Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.”
(Luke 23:46)

Jesus began his words from the Cross with “Father.” And he ends with “Father” now. Jesus’ last word from the Cross is a word of trust. Jesus’ word “It is finished” was offered as a loud cry of victory. This final word, I hear as one of quiet, of peace, even of joy, as he gives his completed work, his completed life, into his Father’s loving hands. Particularly in his farewell discourse to the disciples in John 13 to 16, and his High Priestly prayer in John 17, Jesus emphasized that His promise he came to open the way for us to have this same relationship of intimacy with God. We have been “adopted into the family;” we have been given a relationship of love that lasts for ever as children in the Father’s home. And so, with Our Lord, are bold to say, “Our Father.” May we share his trust to also say, “Into your hands I commit my spirit,” committing all that we are and have – past, present, future – into the loving hands of our loving God.

Reflection: What an overwhelmingly wonderful existence I have been given, to love for ever the One who so loves me!

“In manus tuas commendo spiritum meum.” Into the hands which broke and quickened the bread, which blessed and caressed little children, which were pierced with the nails; into the hands which are like our hands, the hands of which one can never tell what they will do with the object they are holding, whether they will break it or heal it, but which we know will always obey and reveal impulses filled with kindness and will always clasp us ever more closely, ever more jealously; into the gentle and mighty hands which can reach down into the very depth of the soul, the hands which fashion, which create, the hands through which flows out so great a love: into these hands it is comforting to surrender oneself especially if one is suffering or afraid. And there is both great happiness and great merit in so doing.
(Teilhard de Chardin) 

The timid soul, fear-driven, shuns the dark;
But upon the cheeks of him who must abide in shadow
Breathes the wind of rushing angel-wings,
And round him falls a light from unseen fires.

Magical beams glow athwart the darkness;
Paths of beauty wind through his black world
To another world of light,
Where no veil of sense shuts him out from Paradise.
(Helen Keller)

Love is and was my Lord and King,
And in his presence I attend
To hear the tidings of my friend,
Which every hour his couriers bring.

Love is and was my King and Lord,
And will be, though as yet I keep
Within his court on earth, and sleep
Encompassed by his faithful guard,

And hear at times a sentinel
Who moves about from place to place,
And whispers to the worlds of space,
In the deep night, that all is well.
(Alfred, Lord Tennyson)

At the evening of this life I will appear before you with empty hands. In your eyes all our righteousness is stained. Therefore I want to put on your own righteousness and receive from your love the eternal gift of yourself. I do not want any other throne and any other crown than you, my beloved!
(St. Therese de Lisieux)

Reflections on Our Saviour’s Seven Words from the Cross – Word Six: Finished

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“It is finished.”
(John 19:30)

In the Greek, this is indeed only one word: tetelestan. It’s the word that people would write on a bill after it had been paid. The bill is dealt with; the price has been paid. It is finished. Jesus has been poured out completely, every ounce. His mission of loving to the end (to the last, and to the uttermost) has been accomplished. All that darkness and death clamoured to extract from him, Jesus has given. When I think of Jesus saying these words, I think of a master artist like Leonardo da Vinci standing back and looking at the completed Mona Lisa, and saying, “There, it’s done.” Who would presume to try to take a paintbrush to such a masterpiece to add or take away anything from it? So, too, with Our Lord’s offering for you and me. All that ever needed to be done for you and I to receive eternal life he has accomplished. It is finished! Alleluia!

Reflection: Jesus has painted a masterpiece and called it “the person who experiences the fullness of life that God planned from before the creation of the world.” If each of us looks at it, we’ll see looking back at us the person we most long in our hearts to be.

Our position is such that we can be rescued from death and translated into life only by total and unceasing substitution, the substitution which God Himself undertakes on our behalf.
(Karl Barth)

What is REAL?” asked the Rabbit one day, when they were lying side by side near the nursery fender, before Nana came to tidy the room. “Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?”  “Real isn’t how you are made,” said the Skin Horse. “It’s a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.” “Does it hurt?” asked the Rabbit. “Sometimes,” said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. “When you are Real  you don’t mind being hurt.”  Does it happen all at once, like being wound up,” he asked, “or bit by bit?”  “It doesn’t happen all at once,” said the Skin Horse. “You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in your joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.” “I suppose you are real?” said the Rabbit. And then he wished he had not said it, for he thought the Skin Horse might be sensitive. But the Skin Horse only smiled. “The Boy’s Uncle made me Real,” he said. “That was a great many years ago; but once you are Real you can’t become unreal again. It lasts for always.”
(Margery Williams, The Velveteen Rabbit)

[As Jesus’ beloved disciple,] I am called to live, I am called to pray, “close to the breast of Jesus”. There is no one and nothing between me and the heart of Christ. The Gospel of John uses the same image to express the mystery that there was no one and nothing between Jesus and the Father. “No one has ever seen God; the only Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, he has made him known.” (John 1:18) … In Holy Week I can take to heart what it would cost to allow myself to experience fully this intimacy which already mine. Closeness to Jesus at the Last Supper was not a matter of affectionate reverie. The heart whose beat the beloved disciple could hear was pounding in anticipation of arrest, degradation and death by torture: Jesus “was troubled in spirit”. The conversation he was uniquely placed to have with Jesus was about the treachery of one of the twelve. Abiding with Jesus meant standing by the cross with Mary and the other women, exposed to the full horror of his brutal execution. To live close to the heart of Jesus would mean living in contact with the joy and the agony of Christ. It is not possible to have one without the other.
(Martin L. Smith, A Season for the Spirit, pages 148-149, alt.)

 

Reflections on Our Saviour’s Seven Words from the Cross – Word Five: Forsaken

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“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
(Mark 15:34)

As darkness covers the land, the Light of the world experiences darkness within. It is a mystery as deep as Jesus’ darkness itself. Jesus’ ebbing of life is not only physical, but spiritual. Shortly before, in Gethsemane, which literally means “olive press,” Jesus accepted the cup of suffering humanity, knowing that the crushing weight of our darkness would squeeze every ounce of life out of him, just as the millstone crushes the oil out of the olives. Now Jesus drinks this cup to its very dregs. There is no part of our darkness, no part of our burden, that he does not take up and take on – including our spiritual darkness. I who know nothing but the faintest glimmer of God’s fellowship can’t begin to imagine the pain being experienced here by the One who has always been in the bosom of the Father, as he loses his awareness of his Father’s Presence (note “My God,” not “My Father”). All I do know, is that even this price my Lord did not consider too great to pay for me.

Reflection: What Love was willing to do for me I shall never be able to fathom this side of eternity. O Lord, may my every breath, my every thought, my every action for now and for all eternity be thanks, be praise to you.

Be near me when my light is low,
When the blood creeps, and the nerves prick
And tingle, and the heart is sick,
And all the wheels of Being slow.

Be near me when the sensuous frame
Is racked with pangs that conquer trust;
And Time, a maniac scattering dust,
And Life, a Fury slinging flame.

Be near me when my faith is dry,
And men the flies of latter spring,
That lay their eggs, and sting and sing,
And weave their petty cells and die.

Be near me when I fade away,
To point the term of human strife,
And on the low dark verge of life
The twilight of eternal day.
(Alfred, Lord Tennyson)

To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly be broken. If you want to be sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket – safe, dark, motionless, airless – it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. The alternative to tragedy, or at least the risk of tragedy, is damnation. The only place outside Heaven where you can be perfectly safe from all the dangers and perturbations of love is Hell. 
(C. S. Lewis – written while his wife was ill with terminal cancer)

Reflections on Our Saviour’s Seven Words from the Cross – Word Four: Faint

“I am thirsty.”
(John 19:28)

One of the terrible physical sufferings that took place in crucifixion was a raging thirst, from the beating down of the sun and the loss of blood. John, as is often the case, seems to have more in mind than this, however. Jesus’ words remind us of the other time in John’s Gospel when he said he was thirsty. On that occasion, Jesus told the Samaritan woman at the well, “those who drink of the water that I will give them will never be thirsty. The water that I give them will become in them a spring of water gushing up to eternal life.” Now John sets forth the unfathomable mystery that the Source of living water is thirsting. The One who is the Source of life is dying. The Omnipotent One is failing and growing faint, his life literally ebbing away drop by crimson drop. The response from the soldiers is to give Jesus some of their cheap wine, tying in the end of Jesus’ earthly ministry with its beginning, when at Cana he performed his first sign by transforming water into the best wine of the feast. Jesus is thirsting because he is doing the same on the Cross. He is offering the most precious wine of all, his blood – extravagantly, completely, pouring it out so that everyone may share in the Wedding celebration.

Reflection: Jesus fulfilled his promise to give a spring of water gushing up to eternal life by being this spring of water himself – so pouring himself out for us that he thirsted and fainted for life itself.

We thirst at first – ‘tis nature’s act –
And later, when we die,
A little water supplicate
Of fingers going by.

It intimates the finer want
Whose adequate supply
Is that great water in the west
Termed Immortality.  
(Emily Dickinson)

Thou art the first born of the dead, thou, ripe
now for death, art fruit of the tree of life,
life that never ends, fruit which we must eat, if we would be free.
For thou hast made of death the beginning of life;
thou, Christ, with thy death wast the death of Death at the last!
(Miguel de Unamuno, El Cristo de Velazquez, p. 119, alt.)

Reflections on Our Saviour’s Seven Words from the Cross – Word Three: Family

“… here is your son. … Here is your mother.”
(John 19:26-27)

How truly Simon’s words to Mary in Luke 2:35 are fulfilled: “A sword will pierce your own soul, too.” Surely there is no greater pain than to see those we love suffer. Surely there is no greater heartbreak than to yearn to shield your loved one from agony, but being unable to do so. Mary would have done anything to spare Jesus, but can only watch in horror as his life ebbs away. But note that Jesus shares this suffering with Mary. Jesus is seeing the heart of his mother breaking for love of him. How agonizing it must have been for Our Lord to watch Mary suffer! We should thus not be surprised that the next words of Jesus from the Cross are expressions of love for her. Jesus, knowing that he is dying, makes sure that his mother will be cared for, giving this holy responsibility to John, the disciple he loves. Jesus tells Mary now she will have John for her son; and tells John that will have Mary for his mother. Indeed, Jesus is showing his love for John, too. What could be a greater support to John in his discipleship than sharing the journey with such a companion? And so, Mary and John are invited deeper into the mystery of loving Jesus by living out his New Commandment to love one another as he has loved us.  

Reflection: Our Lord wants us to go through this journey together as family – brothers and sisters, children and parents, who care for one another.

God forbid that I should treat Holy Week as the backdrop for private musings about my life in Christ. Millions whose faith has been tested through suffering are taking their anonymous places in churches, carrying silently in their hearts their knowledge that the Risen one with the pierced hands has kept them company in the worst that can befall humankind. Of all the times this is when I should know myself a pilgrim amongst pilgrims, a limb of the Body, and open my heart to those countless believers to whom the Spirit has been and is revealing through pain and prayer, what “No eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the human heart conceived, what God has prepared for those who love him” (1 Corinthians 2:9).

(Martin L. Smith, A Season for the Spirit, pages 140-141, alt.)