A Spiritual Reflection of the Crucifixion

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I really enjoy this portrayal of Jesus. Just a regular guy. A man of flesh and blood. He was born in a time long, long ago to loving parents here on earth, that nurtured and raised Him into the man who Loved God with all of His heart and Soul. Who was chosen by our Lord, God to save literally billions of human beings from themselves.

Jesus at the age of twelve, in Jerusalem with Joseph and Mary for the Passover festival, as an adolescent traveling with a large group was not missed for two or three days, when His parents realized Jesus was missing from the group they returned to Jerusalem. He stayed behind to be found in the temple studying with teachers.

Luke 2: 48When his parents saw him, they were astonished, and his mother said to him, “Son, why have you done this to us? Your father and I have been looking for you with great anxiety.” 49And he said to them, “Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?”*

Our Lord, God brought Jesus to us.  With Him, a new way of life, a new way of thinking. Jesus – brought our Loving Heavenly Father to us, and through Our Father we are  gifted with  the Holy Spirit.

Perhaps you can take a few minutes to visualize what the life of Jesus may have been like, the parts we don’t read about. Regardless of your relationship status, you can relate. A young man? An older gentleman? Woman, teenage girl. Wife, grandparent, husband, single person. We all know children, young men, teenagers – men. Jesus was human. What was His unwritten/unseen life like? These details of His life on earth don’t seem necessary to His overall mission, which is in essence, to bring peace and goodness to the world, to bring others to our Heavenly Father. I think though, it is critical to realize Jesus was a man. His lessons are those we can all live by.

This may sound like an oversimplification, and religiously speaking, it really is, but that is the synopsis or perhaps Spark-note version.

I readily admit, I am reading, studying and learning more about the Holy Bible and Catholic teachings which do conflict (at times). I suppose that’s where the “Cafeteria Catholic” comes in. I read other (Catholic) religious and spiritual writings and I encourage everyone to take some time doing the same. Just as living through life physically is a journey, so must our spiritual self travel to learn and grow.

The following reading is from today’s Divine Office Reading 3/23/16.

Mid-morning reading 1 Timothy 2:4-6
God our saviour wants everyone to be saved and reach full knowledge of the truth. For there is only one God, and there is only one mediator between God and mankind, himself a man, Christ Jesus, who sacrificed himself as a ransom for them all. He is the evidence of this, sent at the appointed time.

I do put a lot of thought into what I write. I do practice Lectio Divena. Roman Catholic Priest do act as mediators – which is against God? I had to return to this verse this morning.

His belief in our Lord, God the Father was so strong, He was so deeply filled with the Holy Spirit that He gave His life to bring us to Him. Matthew 22: 37 Jesus replied: greatestcommandment“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.[a] 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[b] 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

The price he paid for the sin, of billions of humans – was His life. I think, in a way as a mother considering the man child Jesus, the child, teenager, man – Jesus Christ and understanding that He really was just like you or I in human flesh, with wants, needs, desires. He had human relationships, but He was chosen by God; “John 3:1616For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life.

I will note, this is the first bible verse I memorized as a child. This version “God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, so that he who believeth in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life” The background reading I have done on this reading/translation, has deeper meaning and value (to me) today than it did as a child. I have found this translations to mean spiritually more than the Catholic Bible translation, and more than the face value written in this paragraph.

I will reference this link What does it mean that Jesus is God’s only begotten son? (not Catholic, but I was researching something from my childhood), which in truth gives a much deeper meaning to the Jesus we all know and hear about. We know He was chosen, but having a better understanding of the original wording/translation puts so much more meaning (and “common sense”) into this phrase. No longer is Jesus, God’s only son, or only a son of God. He is the chosen one, chosen by God, and as we know we are all children of God.

Jesus was God‘s begotten one. His unique human child with Holy Spirit on earth, brought forward for the purpose to bring us to Him. Upon the Crucifixion and resurrection we see the Trinity in full, God the Father, God the Son together in the Holy Spirit.

(4/29/16) In a recent Mass, an elderly Priest was rather upset. He insisted that Jesus WAS God. There are various readings in the bible too that refer to Jesus as human in form on earth prior to the resurrection.

(5/9/17) 1Peter 3:18  “18For Christ also suffered for sins once, the righteous for the sake of the unrighteous, that he might lead you to God. Put to death in the flesh, he was brought to life in the spirit.g”

* [3:18] Suffered: very many ancient manuscripts and versions read “died.” Put to death in the flesh: affirms that Jesus truly died as a human being. Brought to life in the spirit: that is, in the new and transformed existence freed from the limitations and weaknesses of natural human life (cf. 1 Cor 15:45).  NAB (USCCB)

Today (4.29.16) DO Readings include:


Mid-morning reading (Terce)Acts 2:32,36

God raised this man Jesus to life, and all of us are witnesses to that. For this reason the whole House of Israel can be certain that God has made this Jesus whom you crucified both Lord and Christ.

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“Whoever humbles himself like this child”

Matthew, chapter 18
St. Matthew 18:1-5

The Greatest in the Kingdom. At that time the disciples approached Jesus and said, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” 2He called a child over, placed it in their midst, 3 and said, “Amen, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. 4Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. 5 And whoever receives one child such as this in my name receives me.

This is a favorite reading of mine.  One that is often quoted and often times the complex beauty I find in this statement is overlooked.  With the impending birth of my first grandchild I find myself reminiscing over those early and young days of the lives of my sons.  The other day youngest was over helping me by moving somethings in my bedroom/walk-in closet.  We came across a framed photo of my dad as a little boy and reflected upon their similar features.  I take after my dad, my oldest and youngest sons take after both of us.  Little boys.

 

Knowing our creator has provided a portion of His Kingdom on earth, which believers are part of.  Believers are also called to build the Kingdom, right here on earth. In this, we are to celebrate life as God given, along with the many additional gifts that have been and are given to us throughout our lifetime – here.

Here we beginning to celebrate that, which  is but a glimpse of what we are told heaven is like.  Considering this, the pages of the bible that are written with Jesus explaining

“Amen, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. 4Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”

The first thing a teacher may suggest is that we are simply to submit to His will trusting in Him.  I believe that is true – but – Jesus is also challenging us here to see and participate in the beauty of life and all that it offers to us through the innocence of a child’s eyes, touch, taste, ear, sound – heart & soul.

 

The first moments of life outside of the presumed safety of a mothers womb. Snuggled safely in her arms, in the hours shortly after birth.  Babies this young cannot focus, see.  They know us by voice, scent, warmth.  A small baby perhaps smelling a flower for the first time.  Exploring the wonders of the Kingdom, safely with a parent.  Protected, safe.  As we are in Him.

 

 Experiences the senses, safely protected.  First time in the pool?  With an adoring dad or maybe uncle.  The texture of the shag carpeting beneath the body of a little one just learning to sit up – exploring touch and the magic of sound, the music they can make.  I can almost hear the babbling/singing joy.  An infant in a baby swing – big brother learning to care for little one and sharing fun – learning to push the swing, bonding time with family.  Giggles in a big round swing, or big brother having fun crawling through the big metal tube at the park – having a little race?  Learning, sharing, touch, sound, movement, scent. . . love.

First experience of independence?  Toddling ahead, exploring their land legs, the crunching sound of leaves beneath, chill of the autumn air.  Examining the world “upside down” – what a view!  Learning you can blow bubbles!  The joy of watching that shinny blob grow…float away “pop”!  “Flowers for you mom” I remember those days and floating petals with no stems .  The crunching of snow underfoot, footprints, snow angels? Potters Clay Wet sand, or hard stones on a rocky beach.  Salt air, the sound of seagulls overhead, the sound of the waves coming in – and excitement for tide going out – sandbars to play on!  Catching tadpoles in a pond!  The beauty of life.

 

Piggy back ride Papa?  Giggling happily. Early friendships.  First Kiss.

When we are able to sit back and fully embrace these awesomely beautiful moments in life we are participating in the Kingdom of God – right here, on earth.

When is the last time you allowed yourself to embrace your own life, through the eyes of an innocent child?  Note, scripture does not tell us to be adult, but to live with the humbleness of a child, embracing His gifts.

  5 And whoever receives one child such as this in my name receives me.

baby

~

When I began writing during my lunch break this afternoon, I did so with the intention of writing something that included the prompt word of the day.  The more I reflected upon the verse chosen, the photographs, experiences and thought of future experiences – the further I have moved from that single word prompt.  I’m no longer going to use it – in this article anyway.  I find deeper thoughts and feelings as I write and hope to share, offer glimpse at experiences we often overlook – or, take for granted.

“Amen, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. 4Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

As we “grow up”, grow older, we often tend to loose our sense of innocence, childlike wonder.  I think the humility that Jesus is talking about is not simply to say “You are my Father, I trust you”.  I think we are supposed to stretch ourselves, perhaps out of our self imposed comfort zones – to really embrace life and to live again.  True happiness and love are not found in tangible items, they are found within our relationships.  It would I believe, be impossible to really write a full list of the wonderful gifts our Father has given us, this request for our true humility offers to enrich our lives and those in our lives all the more. 

Last night, teaching my ninth grade confirmation class I asked my usual questions.  I had new students in my class and when I asked “Who is God?” a hand shot right up, I called on my student and he replied “The Creator of All”.  Out of the mouth of babes.  While we know and acknowledge this truth,  how often do we sit back and really contemplate the vast beauty he has bestowed upon us? How often do we consider – or – admit, we are not fully turning ourselves over to God?  He asks us to be open and remain open. 

Selecting the photo’s I have chosen to use today, writing this piece. . . I can remember my new born babies the wonder of the older brother(s) as each sibling arrived.  I look forward to the birth of our little one, a baby boy.  I remember little fists clutched with crushed flowers, mud pies and a ring around the bathtub after washing up one toddler (who then was rinsed in the clean water of a shower!).  Yes, messy little boys who loved to play outside and embraced the world God created for us. 

He challenges me.  He challenges us. 

~ Go back to the top and look at each and every photo again.  What do you see?  What do you feel?  What do you want to experience?

~ Blessings