Browsing Pastor's Notes

Palm Sunday

The Crucifix pictured here hangs in a Monastery of Santo Tomas in Avila, Spain, which was once a Dominican friary and house of study. One thing that was readily apparent when I visited churches & cathedrals throughout Spain was the almost gruesome nature of their crucifixes. They do not sanitize the Cross. The corpus – the Body of Christ – is often depicted quite bloody and scared by His scourging at the pillar and subsequent carrying of the Cross. They draw special attention to His many lacerations, bleeding brow from the crown of thorns, and blood flowing forth from His pierced Heart.

In part, this is a cultural expression. In part, it has to do with the historical time period when the suffering of Christ for our sinfulness was especially emphasized. I found these crucifixes rather jarring. And perhaps that is the real purpose. For shouldn’t we be rather jarred by our encounter with the Crucified Christ? Do we not need a little waking up from our complacent contentment with our sins of worldly comforts? Do we not need the words “Crucify Him, Crucify Him!” to mean something more than a quaint communal recollection of a historical action, no matter how severe or striking it might have been at the time? Should not the death of God frighten us? This weekend, we hear the reading of the Great Passion of our Lord. His Passion – His suffering – should impact us, jar us, shake us, awake us. It should remind us that it was not the sins and struggles of past persons for which Christ died, but for mine, yours, ours – here, now, today.

The fact of our sinful participation in the gruesome Crucifixion of Christ is the reason that the Church has asked priests and pastors to remind the faithful that anti-Semitism is never justifiable under any circumstances, but most especially from the account of Christ’s Saving Passion upon the Cross. “The passion narratives are proclaimed in full so that all see vividly the love of Christ for each person. In light of this, the crimes during the Passion of the Christ cannot be attributed, in either preaching or catechesis, indiscriminately to all Jews of that time, nor to Jews today. The Jewish people should not be referred to as though rejected or cursed, as if this view followed from Scripture. The Church ever keeps in mind that Jesus, his mother Mary, and the apostles were all Jewish. As the Church has always held, Christ freely suffered his passion and death because of the sins of all, that all might be saved” (USCCB - Bishops Committee on Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs, emphasis added).


+ Nothing Less than saints for the Holy Family of God. +


Holy Family, Participating in the Passion of the Christ, Pray for us.

~ Fr Jeremy M. Gries


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