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"Today the concept of truth is viewed with suspicion, because truth is identified with violence. Over history there have, unfortunately, been episodes when people sought to defend the truth with violence. But they are two contrasting realities. Truth cannot be imposed with means other than itself! Truth can only come with its own light. Yet, we need truth. ... Without truth we are blind in the world, we have no path to follow. The great gift of Christ was that He enabled us to see the face of God".Pope Benedict xvi, February 24th, 2012

The Church is ecumenical, catholic, God-human, ageless, and it is therefore a blasphemy—an unpardonable blasphemy against Christ and against the Holy Ghost—to turn the Church into a national institution, to narrow her down to petty, transient, time-bound aspirations and ways of doing things. Her purpose is beyond nationality, ecumenical, all-embracing: to unite all men in Christ, all without exception to nation or race or social strata. - St Justin Popovitch

BENEDICTUS MOMENTS

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Saturday, 24 March 2012

5th SUNDAY OF LENT 2012 B



 Although this Sunday is no longer called "Passion Sunday", the central theme of today's Gospel is the Cross. God the Father is glorified by the Cross. When the grain of wheat, Jesus himself, dies, he will draw all to himself. The gentiles who wish to meet with Jesus will meet him and come to know him on the cross. All his followers will follow the cross, choosing death with him in order to share his resurrection.

"Glory" is a word we use much without stopping to ask its meaning.   It means that which shows the rank, attractiveness, true nature of someone. The scrambled egg on an admiral's sleeve shows us that he is an admiral and, hence, is his "glory".   St Paul says that the glory of a woman is her hair: it was that which attracted males in St Paul's time. 

 The Father is glorified by the Cross because Christ's death on the Cross reveals God as totally self-giving Love , a love that is reflected in Christ's death.     Behind all the theophanies of the Old Testament was the Love revealed on the Cross, the very Life of the Blessed Trinity.   Christ on the cross is the profoundest and clearest theophany of all, the glory of God the Father.

For the same reason, gentiles who wish to see Christ will truly get to know him when they see the crucifix.   More than in any other situation, it is on the Cross that Christ reveals who he truly is, and to know Christ crucified is salvation.  It is by this love that Christ conquers the devil and sin.   

Christ draws all to himself on the Cross.  To see how, we must connect this with the opening sentences of St John's Gospel:
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God.....All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being.
Because Christ's death on the cross was the death of the Word made flesh, this contingent, historical event transcends time and place and became effective in all times and places, a dimension of him who enlightens every man who comes into the world and who holds the whole cosmos in being.   It became a dimension of created reality itself.  It became the focal point of history and the means of universal salvation.


In the Eucharist, Christ on the Cross continues to draw his faithful to himself, causing Christians across time and space to make his death on the cross our own sacrifice; and, to the extent that we put ourselves at his disposition and thus share in his death, drawing us up through his resurrection- ascension to share with him, the angels and saints, in the liturgy of heaven.

All who follow Christ must be so transformed that they love in the same way as he does.   In Pauline vocabulary, Christ must live and love in and through them Therefore, the way of Christianity is the way of the Cross.  It is the only way to live as members of his body, because it is a crucified and resurrected body, a body transformed and rendered "fruitful" through death.   We reveal Christ's presence in the world, we make him visible, by the quality of our love which involves death to self and being filled with Christ.   This is a Gospel for Lent.
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