Saturday, April 12, 2014

He Emptied Himself

By Fr. Joe McCloskey, SJ

“This is Jesus the prophet, from Nazareth in Galilee.”  Matthew 21:11

Morning after morning he opens my ear that I may hear; and I have not rebelled, have not turned back.  I gave my back to those who beat me, my cheeks to those who plucked my beard; my face I did not shield from buffets and spitting.  Isaiah 50:4c-6

Christ Jesus, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God something to be grasped.  Rather, he emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, coming in human likeness; and found human in appearance, he humbled himself, becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.  Philippians 2:6-1

After they had crucified him, they divided his garments by casting lots; then they sat down and kept watch over him there.  And they placed over his head the written charge against him: This is Jesus, the King of the Jews.  Matthew 27:35-37

A deep-seated piety of love of the Lord is what life is about.  It is the goal of our journey to realize the perfect imaging forth in our life of what our creation in the image and likeness of Christ is.  When we finally discover who we are meant to be in the service of the Lord, we will have realized the plan of God in our person-hood.  The real self is who we are in Christ.  Our uniqueness as a person will be how we image the Christ who does not create clones, but rather is the uniqueness of who we are meant to be.  We wave the prayers and the good actions of our lives as the welcome we offer to Christ, our truth, our way and our life.

When we study Christ, we are studying who we are meant to be in our day and age.  Christ has come so that we might have the life of the Father in who we are.  Christ died for our sinfulness so that we might have his life as the meaning of who we are.  There is no bypass of his cross.  We are all called to go up to Jerusalem with him.  We are all given the opportunity to die with him.  We have eternal life in us as we are raised up to his love forever.  We have Christ as our destiny for all the good thing we have done in our lives.  Palm Sunday with its Passion narrative gives us the connection between our happiness to receive Christ in our lives and all the difficulties of following him closely to his death on the cross.

We welcome Christ to his destiny in living to bring us salvation by entering into the Passion of Christ with all our heart and soul.  Once a year, we are given the chance to relive with Christ the glorious meaning of God’s love for us.  God loved us so much that he wanted to be one of us.  We have the chance to love God back in the ways we live out the crosses in our lives in the name of Christ.  Even as we rejoice to offer up the crosses of our lives in his name, we fill up what is wanting to the suffering of Christ’s body, the Church.  We can rejoice in our sufferings in the name of Christ in the realization that our crosses of life, carried in the name of Christ, will be our claim to fame in heaven.  Palm Sunday gives us the chance to glory in our suffering in his name.

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