“Hotaru” by Kobudo, from the album “Ototabi”, (2013)
The Death of Jesus
see also: (Psalm 22:1-31; Matthew 27:45-56; Mark 15:33-41; John 19:28-30)
44And it was almost the sixth hour; and there was darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour. 45And the sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was rent in the midst. 46And Jesus crying out with a loud voice, said: Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit. And saying this, he gave up the ghost.
47Now the centurion, seeing what was done, glorified God, saying: Indeed this was a just man. 48And all the multitude of them that were come together to that sight, and saw the things that were done, returned striking their breasts. 49And all his acquaintances, and the women that had followed him from Galilee, stood afar off, beholding these things. Luke 23: 44-49
In “The Better Part” page 778, Fr. John Bartunek writes: “At the very moment of His apparent defeat our King begins to enjoy the abundant spoils of His eternal victory — the allegiance of loving hearts. The centurion, who had overseen Christ’s whole condemnation, torture, mockery and expiation, opens his heart with an act of faith; he becomes a soldier of Christ.
The bystanders, who minutes before had been laughing and berating, repent as they stumble home. His friends and followers stand gazing at their Lord, unable to turn away from this horrendous scene, which has become beautiful to them and has changed their hearts forever.
The women of Galilee show their fierce and constant fidelity, obeying the Law while they also obey the law of love by preparing spices to anoint their beloved Jesus.
As much as the powers of darkness tried to shatter once and for all the Kingdom of Christ, his followers continue to serve him, like iron filings that keep converging on a magnet. Love — Christ’s love — is stronger than death.
Christ teaches us how to die. “Now the centurion, seeing what was done, glorified God, saying: Indeed this was a just man.” Death will come for each of us. It is one of the few things the future holds that we can be absolutely sure of.
And yet we spend precious little time considering it and preparing for it. Christians are not meant to be obsessed with death, but neither should they join the swelling ranks of those who frantically distract themselves from this simple truth.
What is worth defending? What is worth living for? What is worth dying for? In a nutshell? People … the folks … because they are intrinsically valuable and worthwhile as individuals and as a group. and, for the most part, utterly defenseless. They are so defenseless that they don’t even know that they are defenseless. They are, in this aspect, like sheep.
Make no mistake about it … there is evil out there … there are wolves out there who will feed on the flock without mercy! Eight years in the Military and ten years in the Corrections Service teaches one the reality of evil people.
But evil is nothing more than the “absence of good”, and therein lies a whole world of hurt. We struggle daily to discipline and control all the little “orcs’s” of our souls, to actively choose “the better part”.
In any manifestation of evil the underlying or sometimes overt aspect of evil, the “dead” giveaway, is how the actors value and treat ordinary people, the very people whom Christ died to save . In each and every instance without exception the manner in which any person, organization or ideology treats ordinary people is the hallmark of which side they fall on. And no matter what the mental and rhetorical gymnastics the perpetrators go through there are ONLY two sides. You are either on the side of our Lord, and the Angels, or on the side of the Demons.
There is no middle ground. Even refusing to choose, denying that there is a choice is merely to choose self indulgence and everything that that implies. There are no votes of “Present”, no option to “Abstain”, in real life. There are only two forces in the universe who have died for you – Jesus Christ, and the soldiers, airmen, sailors, police and peace officers and all the rest of the pointy end sheepdogs who put it all on the line for the sheep every time they go to work.
Jesus Christ died for your soul, the rest died to make it possible for you to accept Christ’s offer in freedom, peace and safety. Mission impossible? Maybe … 7 And will not God revenge his elect who cry to him day and night: and will he have patience in their regard? 8 I say to you, that he will quickly revenge them. But yet the Son of man, when he cometh, shall he find, think you, faith on earth? Luke 18: 7-8
Certainty of death. Small chance of success. What are we waiting for? Gimli, son of Gloin, LOTR, (2003)
empty oneself of every trace of belief in one’s “goodness”