Tuesday, April 8, 2014

"Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; yet not what I want but what you want"


He Suffered Under Pontius Pilate

Daily experience shows us how difficult it is to stand up for those spiritual values to which we are committed even when we are at our best. Whenever we have to swim against the current or buck the trend we can relate to why Jesus suffered under Pontius Pilate. St Paul reminds us that “Indeed, all who wish to live God-centered lives in Jesus Christ will suffer persecution.” (2 Titus 3:12)

Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, among others were punished and in some cases killed for standing up for their values.

For us no less than Jesus, history is the stage on which our spiritual convictions are put to the test. Jesus was executed by a domination system that is as powerful today as it was then. How do we in our everyday lives follow Jesus as we too stand up for our spiritual values and in our own way “suffer under Pontius Pilate?”

He Was Crucified…

 Jesus’ crucifixion is a matter of historical fact. He like so many “prophets” who represented threats as subversive to Jewish law and Roman authority, were subjected to murder by crucifixion.  Crucifixion was the corporal punishment of choice for political radicals, designed to kill the convicted and to send a powerful message to any followers, that his “reign” was ended. 

What then might be the spiritual implication of Jesus’ crucifixion for us? Perhaps this question is best found in our Creed, which professes that our faith in the incarnate, Jesus Christ, is one and the same with God. Our belief in Jesus who, in his humanity fully shared in God’s divine spirit, united us in Him through Him with Him.  Thus when we profess that God’s tangible presence in the world was crucified, we express our faith that we can encounter God in the most horrible circumstances. In the midst of crucifixion—a scene that seems to scream out God’s absence…God is present. There is never anything so terrible in life or death that prevents us from enduring it with the trust in God’s presence. There is no injustice, no pain, no catastrophe that prevents us from God’s enduring love. This has given to countless men and women of faith a sense of peace and comfort in the midst of their darkest hours. (Matthew 26:14-27:66)
(Adapted from Deeper than Words, Living the Apostles Creed, David Stendl-Rast).


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