Christ Crucified Alive
“You know nothing at all, nor do you take into account that it is expedient for you that one man die for the people.” John 11:49
Caiaphas as high priest tells us in today’s gospel that we do not take an inventory nor compute the value of the death of Jesus. Devotion to the Passion of Christ means a lot more than ending the distress of our brothers and sisters around us. All the actions and sufferings of Christ should be seen in real time and not just something that has happened 2000 years ago. The actions of the Divine Jesus in His earthly life are not merely contained or limited by past time. The sufferings of Christ are caught up in the eternal presence of His divinity.
I find St Gregory of Nazianzus words fascinating: “Christ is alive. Christ is present. Alive and real, not in the shadows of doubt and uncertainty. Christ is present. Time does not limit nor does it consume Him.” God the Father lives in an eternal now and has no past and still hears the agony of His Son’s wordless cry on the cross. There is no time but real time in God!
Christ does not suffer again. “For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God. 1Pet 3:18 But this most beautiful act of love in the whole cosmos never ceases nor dies. It is kept alive in the timeless divinity of Christ and is made present to us in every encounter we have with the Eucharist.
The sufferings of Christ are present not just in the sufferings of His Church, but in the timeless sacrifice of His Son. We contemplate the suffering Christ now and not in dead past time! In our beautiful St Agnes Church in Louisville we have a beautiful figure of St Paul of the Cross embracing the living and suffering Crucified Christ. For Paul the suffering Christ is in real time because it is in eternal time! We need to contemplate this timeless suffering Christ. The words of St Paul of the Cross quite clearly show that he thought about his suffering as forever present in the “Eternal Now”.
“The world lives unmindful of the sufferings of Jesus which are the miracle of miracles of the love of God. We must arouse the world from its slumber. His Holy Spirit will teach us how.” 11 726
“His most holy Passion is the greatest and most stupendous work of his love.” 11 249
Fr. Bob Weiss, C.P. preaches Parish Missions and is a member of the Passionist Community in Louisville, Kentucky.