Celebration of the Lord's Passion


30 March 2018 General Interest

In our technologically saturated lives, we are hyper-conditioned to the inundation of advertising into our lives. Just think of all the ads we see on the screens of our devices each day. Simply to open FB or Twitter or whatever social media you use, is to open up pages of advertising. Most of the time we think these offerings wash over us; they are barely noticed. But by intentional design and with vast sums of money, these offerings are manufactured to wash through us, so as to engage our deeper impulses. They reach into our appetites and cravings. They appeal to the things we desire. They offer entitlement.

Much that is being fed into our daily lives is designed to push us towards prioritising self-sufficiency. The more choice I can exercise, the more I obtain control in my life and the more I achieve satisfaction with it. It shapes the kind of values by which we live, how we make our choices, and for what we give our time and energy. We are deeply immersed in a culture that is about self-creating – ourselves and the world around us.

Yet, do you think this is leading us anywhere good? Are we not instead more confused with the purpose of our lives, more fragmented in our bodies? The further we journey down the path of self-creation, the further we seem to become disassociated from the person God made us to be, and the body he endowed us with. The more we turn inwardly, the lesser we become personally.

The image of Jesus hanging on a cross is the image of what it looks like for someone to have turned entirely outwardly in their life. There is nothing inwardly-focused about our crucified Lord. For us who gaze upon him, it can certainly be uncomfortable – his physical exposure exposes our inner circumstances. We instinctively want to look away.

But today, Jesus invites us to turn from ourselves and towards him; to look upon him, rather than be pre-occupied with ourselves. To stop, and to look. What is there to see? Initially, we might see what Isaiah spoke of: “The crowds were appalled on seeing him; so disfigured did he look that he seemed no longer human.” But is this what we have really come to see? Might we rather seek to see the deeper man before us, beyond the outer disfigurement? Might we seek to see someone who has emptied himself; and in so seeing him, to find ourselves again?

It is an astounding, and humbling thought to realise that our gathering here this afternoon is an act of recognition of one person who have lived his humanity in such an entirely self-giving way that his death offers us a share in his life. His suffering; our dignity. His body broken; our lives healed. His forgiving; our forgiveness. His sacrifice; our liberty. His death; our life. The more we can look to him, the more we might see ourselves. For, “on him lies a punishment that brings us peace, and through his wounds we are healed.”

Jesus Christ, a person like us in everything but sin, turned the desire for mastery over life into the power of suffering for life. On the cross, God’s Son became the suffering servant, so that our lives might now be grounded in something that will last. “Let us be confident, then, in approaching his throne of grace [a wooden cross], that we shall have mercy from him and find grace when we are in need of help.”

Christ’s accomplishment on the cross? He had always loved us, and he loved us to the end.

Catholic Diocese of
Broken Bay

Building 2, 423 Pennant Hills Road
Pennant Hills NSW 2120

PO Box 340
Pennant Hills NSW 1715

Phone 02 9847 0000
Fax 02 9847 0001

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