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Holy Week -2 Meditation: Jesus Emptied


I look at the crucified Lord here and in life. I see him stripped of everything:

*-Stripped of dignity*, naked before his friends and enemies...

*-Stripped of all his possessions*: I remember the times when people wanted just to touch the fringe of his garments.

 *-Stripped of his reputation*: I remember the times when he was spoken well off ...

*-Stripped of success*: I recall the heady years when his miracles were acclaimed and it seemed as if the kingdom were about to be established

*-Stripped of credibility:* so, he could not come down from the cross; so, he could not save himself; he must have been a fraud.

*-Stripped of support:* even the friends and family who did not run away are powerless to reach him or help him ...

*-Stripped of his God*, the god he thought of as his father, who he hoped would save him in his hour of need ...

*Finally, I see him stripped of life*, this existence here on earth that he, like us, held on to tena­ciously and was unwilling to let go of ...

As I gaze at that lifeless body, I slowly understand that I am looking at the symbol of supreme and total liberation. In being fastened to the cross Jesus becomes alive and free. Here is a parable of conquest, not defeat.

So now I begin to contemplate the majesty of the man who has freed himself from all that makes us slaves, destroys our happiness ... In gazing at that freedom, I think with sadness of my own slavery:

*-I am a slave to the things that I possess*: I think of the times I am controlled by the gadgets and things that I have or the way I appear before people

*-I am a slave to public opinion*: I think of the times I am controlled by what others/community will say and think of me ...

*-I am driven to worldly acceptance*: I see the times I run away from challenges and risks because I hate to make mistakes or fail ...the many initiatives that I fail to take …

*-I am enslaved by the need for human consolation*: how many times I was dependent on the approval and acceptance of others /friends/ community, their power to assuage my loneliness, the times I didn’t really express my opinion, I was possessive of my friends and lost my freedom ...

*-I think of my enslavement to my God*: I think of the times I try to use him to make my life secure and undisturbed and painless; also the times I am enslaved by fear of him, and by the need to insure myself against him through rites and exercises and ceremonies ...

*-Finally, I think of how I cling to life*: how para­lyzed I am by fears of every kind, unable to take risks, for fear of losing friends or reputation, health, success or life or God ...

-And so, I gaze in admiration at the crucified who won his final liberation in his passion when he fought with his attachments and let go of them, and conquered…..

I too desire for myself the freedom and the victory that shine out in the body on the cross.

And as I continue to contemplate the mystery of his cross, I hear again his words re-echo in my heart:

   *"If you wish to follow me, you must follow with your cross..." and "unless it dies, the grain of wheat remains alone..."*