Wednesday, February 20, 2008

A Life of Confession...A Life of Holy Communion

"I believe in Christianity
As I believe that
the sun has risen
not only because I see it
but because by it
I see everything else"
- C. S. Lewis

Meditate on the words below, and may it inspire our time together.

Jesus Is Condemned: Jesus stands before Pilate. He is silent. He does not defend himself against the many charges made against him. But when Pilate asks him, “What have you done? He says, “I came into the world for this, to bear witness to the truth; and all who are on the side of truth listen to my voice” (John 19:35-38) The truth of which Jesus speaks is the very relationship, the life-giving intimacy between himself and the Father of which he wants us to partake. Anyone who enters into communion with Jesus will receive the Sprit of truth—the Spirit who frees us from the compulsions and obsessions of our contemporary society. Jesus is the freest human being who ever lived because he was the most connected to God. Pilate condemned him; Pilate wanted to make him one of the damned. But he could not. Jesus death, instead of being the execution of a death sentence, became the way to the full truth, leading to full freedom.

Jesus Carries His Cross: Pilate handed Jesus over to be scourged. Jesus undergoes it all. The time of action is past. He does not speak any more; he does not protest; he does not reproach or admonish. He has become a victim. He no longer acts, but is acted upon. He has entered his passion. He knows that most of human life is passion. People are being starved, kidnapped, tortured, and murdered. People are being imprisoned, driven from their homes, separated from their families, put into camps and used for slave labor. They do not understand the cause for it all. Nobody explains. They are poor. When Jesus felt the cross put on his shoulders, he felt the pain of all future generations pressing on him and he loved the least of us with an immense compassion. . . .
I have to act in any way possible to alleviate the pain I see. But there is an even harder task: to carry my own cross, the cross of loneliness and isolation, the cross of rejections I experience, the cross of my depression and inner anguish. . . . We must each take up our own cross and follow Jesus, and so discover that we are truly brothers and sisters who learn from him who is humble and gentle of heart. In this way only can a new humanity be born.

[Excerpts from Henri Nouwen’s Walk with Jesus:]

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