Look at the Cross – Br. Luke Ditewig
Holy Cross Day
Look at the cross, and pray with Jesus. Look from the various gospel perspectives. [i] There is meaning for each of us today.
With Matthew, remember Judas’ betrayal, Peter’s denial, and Pilate washing his hands.[ii] Remember our own racism, lies, and violence. Acknowledge our power and privilege. Ask how have we have cried “crucify” in word or deed, with inaction or silence. Pray with penitence saying: Forgive us.
With Mark, pray Jesus’ agony—“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”—that first line of Psalm 22, which surely Jesus knew.[iii] As a psalm of lament, it goes back and forth from trouble to trust. Pray specifically your pain, hurts, and fear. Then remember back. How have you received love? Cling to past provision as hope in today’s desolation. Pray both trouble and trust.
With Luke, pray Jesus’ compassion: “Father, forgive them for they do not know what they are doing” and as Jesus said to one crucified beside him: “Today, you will be with me in Paradise.”[iv] Bless, and do not curse. Ask for grace and mercy on who hurt and oppress, and on those whom you cannot stand.
With John, pray Jesus’ sovereignty: “I, when I am lifted up, will draw all people to myself.”[v] Death and evil are conquered. Jesus reigns, reaching, hearing, and holding all. On the cross Jesus bears the weight, the weight of the world, Hold yourself in a hug trusting that Jesus has us all in his hands.
Look at the cross, and pray with Jesus. Pray with what you see and need today.
[i] Raymond E. Brown (1986) A Crucified Christ in Holy Week. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 71, in Frances Taylor Gench (2007) Encounters with Jesus. Louisville: WJK Press, 127.
[ii] Matthew 26-27
[iii] Mark 15:34
[iv] Luke 23:34, 43
[v] John 12:32
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Just lovely, simple, direct. May it engage permanently with my brain cells. Thank you Br. Luke.
Thank you for sharing with us the diverse ways on which each evangelists described Jesus on the cross.