Bread In The Wilderness

Father Carl Diederichs

Jesus: Pierced and Killed

 

The readings from sacred scripture that we will read and pray over are: Zechariah 12: 10-11; 13:1, Galatians 3: 26-29 and Luke 9: 18-24.

 

Zechariah gives us a message of pain and suffering leading to purification and cleansing from sin. One person suffered and was mourned by the people. We who live now can readily apply these painful, yet life-giving words, to Jesus. A fountain of cleansing water will wash over us after much pain and suffering.

 

Paul grasps that wonderful insight that now all those who are baptized into Christ are “clothed” in Christ. We are now all one! No more Jew or Greek, slave or free, no more male or female, no more gay or straight, for “all are one in Christ Jesus”.

 

Luke gives us that scene where Jesus, after private prayer, asks His disciples who people, and then they, say He is. Peter gives the answer: “the Christ of God.” Jesus tells them to be quiet on this one. Why? The Christ of God was to come and drive the enemies of God’s people out; he was to restore the beautiful kingdom they remember from the stories told by their ancestors.

 

No, the “Christ of God” was not destined for the restoration of an earthly kingdom. He says that He would suffer and die and after that be raised from the dead. And His followers, too, were to suffer the same fate if they were to truly “follow” Him.

 

So, we don’t follow the preaching of those who say we will somehow avoid suffering if we just trust enough, or give them money enough. Our baptism empowers us to “take up our cross daily”. That means, as it did for Jesus that our lives must be poured out for others. And this is often real suffering.

 

What is our “Cross”? I cannot speak for you, but certainly as we read the signs of the times and observe the death and destruction going on around the world, our response must be to step up in whatever way we can to bring the love and peace of Jesus to all. For me, at this time, I am urged to speak up forcefully for the abolition of military style guns. I am urged to speak up about the sin of homophobia and race hate. I am compelled to not stay quiet about the destitution and hunger of so many of God’s children. I must spend myself for others if I am to take up my cross daily.

 

And we will find joy in our taking up the cross. “You are my help, in the shadow of your wings I shout for joy. My soul clings fast to you; your right hand upholds me.” (Ps 63)

 

The great paradox: In the Cross we find Joy.