Sunday, November 27, 2016

20 Mysteries: Jesus Resurrects from the Dead

Luke 24:1-12:

[1] And on the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they came to the sepulchre, bringing the spices which they had prepared. [2] And they found the stone rolled back from the sepulchre. [3] And going in, they found not the body of the Lord Jesus. [4] And it came to pass, as they were astonished in their mind at this, behold, two men stood by them, in shining apparel. [5] And as they were afraid, and bowed down their countenance towards the ground, they said unto them: Why seek you the living with the dead? 
[6] He is not here, but is risen. Remember how he spoke unto you, when he was in Galilee, [7] Saying: The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again. [8] And they remembered his words. [9] And going back from the sepulchre, they told all these things to the eleven, and to all the rest. [10] And it was Mary Magdalen, and Joanna, and Mary of James, and the other women that were with them, who told these things to the apostles. 
[11] And these words seemed to them as idle tales; and they did not believe them. [12] But Peter rising up, ran to the sepulchre, and stooping down, he saw the linen cloths laid by themselves; and went away wondering in himself at that which was come to pass.

John 20:1-18:

[1] And on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalen cometh early, when it was yet dark, unto the sepulchre; and she saw the stone taken away from the sepulchre. [2] She ran, therefore, and cometh to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and saith to them: They have taken away the Lord out of the sepulchre, and we know not where they have laid him. [3] Peter therefore went out, and that other disciple, and they came to the sepulchre. [4] And they both ran together, and that other disciple did outrun Peter, and came first to the sepulchre. [5] And when he stooped down, he saw the linen cloths lying; but yet he went not in. 
[6] Then cometh Simon Peter, following him, and went into the sepulchre, and saw the linen cloths lying, [7] And the napkin that had been about his head, not lying with the linen cloths, but apart, wrapped up into one place. [8] Then that other disciple also went in, who came first to the sepulchre: and he saw, and believed. [9] For as yet they knew not the scripture, that he must rise again from the dead. [10] The disciples therefore departed again to their home. 
[11] But Mary stood at the sepulchre without, weeping. Now as she was weeping, she stooped down, and looked into the sepulchre, [12] And she saw two angels in white, sitting, one at the head, and one at the feet, where the body of Jesus had been laid. [13] They say to her: Woman, why weepest thou? She saith to them: Because they have taken away my Lord; and I know not where they have laid him. [14] When she had thus said, she turned herself back, and saw Jesus standing; and she knew not that it was Jesus. [15] Jesus saith to her: Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest thou? She, thinking it was the gardener, saith to him: Sir, if thou hast taken him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away. 
[16] Jesus saith to her: Mary. She turning, saith to him: Rabboni (which is to say, Master). [17] Jesus saith to her: Do not touch me, for I am not yet ascended to my Father. But go to my brethren, and say to them: I ascend to my Father and to your Father, to my God and your God. [18] Mary Magdalen cometh, and telleth the disciples: I have seen the Lord, and these things he said to me.


Praised be Jesus Christ!

Now and forever. Amen.

Tomorrow is the first day of Advent, the first day of the Church's Liturgical Year. So, Happy New Year!

I didn't plan this, but I see this post as particularly fitting at this time. Sure, it also would have made sense to have started this 20 Mysteries reflection series at this time as well, as the Joyful Mysteries begin with the Conception and Birth of Our Lord, but this first Glorious Mystery, the Resurrection, follows and end, and begins a new beginning.

The First Day

All four Gospels begin the Resurrection story, following Jesus' death and burial, by noting that this event occurs on "the first day of the week".

It is interesting to note that, if you count it out, Jesus was only dead for a little over a day and a half (He died at 3pm Friday and resurrected before sunrise--6pm--on Sunday... approximately 39 hours), and not three full days. You sometimes hear objections about this from skeptics, who say that Jesus prophesied He would be dead for three days before rising again, but clearly He wasn't.

This doesn't really represent a problem though, as it's a matter of interpretation. Jesus' death did span across three days: Friday, Saturday, and Sunday--even if He wasn't dead for all of the three days. This is really just a side note, though.

The meaning of the First Day as it relates to this event needs to be reflected upon. It was the understanding of the Jews that observance of the Third Commandment--Remember to keep Holy the Sabbath day--is a manner in which one imitated God. In the work of creation, God worked for six days, and rested on the seventh. So, to be like God, the Jews observed this command fastidiously, working for six days, and resting on the Sabbath, and keeping it a holy day.

Again, we observe in Jesus' death, who is God, a rest on the Sabbath day. Jesus died on Friday, uttering "it is finished," His work, the work of the Old Covenant, was complete. Then He rested for the whole of the Sabbath day, and on the First Day, He rose from the dead to begin the work of the New Covenant.

But the First Day has special significance to us Christians, as this is the day that we hold the ritual observance of the Sabbath, and not on Saturday. Seventh Day Adventists are particularly critical of this practice, as they see it as a departure from obeying the Third Commandment. However, it is precisely because Jesus rose on Sunday that we practice the Sabbath on Sunday, and there is a very good reason for this, stemming from Jewish Tradition.

Saturday was not the only day that Jews observed the Sabbath. In fact, there are several holy days and feasts throughout the year that are to be observed as sabbaths. One such Feast is the Feast of Tabernacles (Leviticus 23:34-43). During this feast the "first day and the eighth" (Sunday) are kept as Sabbaths.

But what is the Feast of Tabernacles? It has a double-meaning. It's practical significance was that it marks the end of the agricultural year, when the harvest is completed, thus it is also called the Feast of Ingathering. It's more religious significance is that it is a ritual commemoration of the Exodus, or God's freeing of the Israelites from Egyptian oppression.

Jesus' death and resurrection mark the new exodus: God's work in freeing His children from the oppression of sin and death. Each time we celebrate the Mass, it is a ritual commemoration of Jesus' death and resurrection, which He commanded at the Last Supper ("do this in memory of me"). Thus, each Mass is effectively a "Feast of Tabernacles" unto itself, as it commemorates this new exodus.

Every Sabbath, in Jewish practice, is accompanied by two ritual acts (so... not just days of rest, but holy days): the reading of Scripture at a Synagogue and the breaking and sharing of bread among families. Each Mass is exactly this, which is why Mass is obligatory on Sundays, as it fulfills our obligation under the Third Commandment to "keep holy the Sabbath day".

Jesus, Himself, completes these two ritual acts during the day of His resurrection. To the disciples who were on the road to Emmaus, Jesus "beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded to them in all the scriptures, the things that were concerning him." (Luke 24:27), and then again, when they arrived at Emmaus, Jesus went in with them, and "it came to pass, whilst he was at table with them, he took bread, and blessed, and brake, and gave to them. And their eyes were opened, and they knew him: and he vanished out of their sight." (Luke 24:30-31).

The First Day indeed is an important day for us as Christians. The first day, Jesus resurrected from death to marking the beginning of the New Covenant. It is also our day of worship and rest, in imitation of Our Lord, who performed the ritual acts of the Sabbath on the day of His resurrection; a commemoration of the work He did for us to free us from sin and death.

Why seek you the living with the dead?

This is the question posed to Mary Magdalene and the other women at the tomb by the angel as an indication that Jesus had risen from the dead. But it's an important question for us to ponder. It reveals to us the character of God, as a God of life, as well as the hope we hold in Jesus that He has conquered death and will bring life to us.

Remember when the Sadducees tried to trap Jesus by asking Him about the woman who married seven brothers, and whose wife she would be at the resurrection (and they asked Him this because they didn't believe in the resurrection, and wanted to show the absurdity of it), and Jesus responded to their real dispute (the resurrection) by pointing out that God said of Himself, "I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob[...] He is not the God of the dead, but of the living" (Matthew 22:32)? Well it's true! God is the God of the living. He is referred to as "the living God" many times throughout the Old Testament, and throughout the Psalms and Ezekiel the blessed dead are said to reside in "the land of the living."

In Matthew 16:16, Simon Peter professes that Jesus is "Christ, the Son of the living God." Jesus is the living one. Thus, the Angel's admonition to Mary and the women is important. Why do you seek the living one among the dead? It is not merely a profession of Jesus' resurrection. It is also a profession of Jesus' true being: that He is the living God. In her heart, Mary Magdalene still did not understand or believe that this is who Jesus is. We see this confirmed in John's Gospel, which I will look at next.

Jesus is the living one. We are the dead. Yet, through Him, we may enter the land of the living, as the Old Testament saints did through their faith and obedience to God and His Law. May we receive this life that He offers us. Adam's sin brought about death. Jesus' love brings about our life.

Do not touch me.

This is a confounding scripture for many. It seems harsh, and it's difficult to understand in light of the reason for it: "I have not yet ascended to my Father." It is especially strange when we see in other passages that Jesus allows other people to touch Him (Thomas, who touches his wounds, for example). So, what is this really about?

Let us examine the context of this as a frame of reference. At the beginning of the chapter, Mary Magdalene comes to the tomb and sees that it is open and empty. She runs and tells Peter that someone has taken Jesus' body. She does not believe He is risen. As Peter and John went to examine the tomb, and after they left, she remained outside of it, weeping. She then sees two angels in the tomb, who ask her why she is weeping. Again, she reiterates that someone has taken Jesus' body and she doesn't know where they've taken it. She still does not believe.

Then she sees Jesus, but does not recognize Him. I think this is the key passage. She does not recognize Him. She asks where He has taken Jesus' body, so she may take it away.

Then Jesus says her name, "Mary", and in that way, she realizes that He's Jesus! The way He said her name, suggests an intimacy, that by that way, she is able to recognize who is speaking. But she still doesn't recognize Him for who He really is. She responds "Rabboni", which means master, or teacher.

This is when Jesus tells her not to touch Him. He says, "for I am not yet ascended to my Father. But go to my brethren, and say to them: I ascend to my Father and to your Father, to my God and your God." He follows His rebuff to her with instructions, which must relate to why she must not touch Him. He tells her to go to the disciples and say to them "I ascend to my Father and to your Father." He does not say "Our Father", which is to distinguish that God's Fatherhood to Jesus was distinct and different to God's Fatherhood to them. He says to say to them "I ascend to[...] to my God and your God". He does not say "Our God", which is again to distinguish that the relationship is distinct and different. The Father is His God insofar as Jesus is also a man, but unlike us, Jesus does not require a mediator between Himself and God, while we do.

Jesus instructs Mary to relay this message to the disciples so that she may come to understand who He is. He is not merely a teacher, or spiritual master. He is not merely a Rabbi, a man. He is God, and He must go to His Father in heaven.

Therefore, she ought not to cling to Him, to hold on to Him, to desire Him to stay there, with her, as a man and teacher. Rather, she ought to recognize Him for who He is, to allow Him to depart to the Father, that He may come to her in the manner of His choosing; through Eucharist and prayer and Sacrament, as the God-man.

Notice, in Matthew 28:9, "And behold Jesus met them, saying: All hail. But they came up and took hold of his feet, and adored him." Here, there is no rebuff. They took hold of His feet, and He permitted it. Why? Because they bowed down and adored Him. They behaved toward Him as He is, as God.

So let us rejoice in Jesus' resurrection. Let us recognize this as the proof for our Hope in the living God, our Lord Jesus, who came to earth to live and teach and die and rise again, that we also may rise again to new and everlasting life. Let us thank Him for the work He has done for us to bring us out of the land of the dead, out of sin and misery, into the land of the living, into life and love.

Praise Him, our God!

Sunday, November 6, 2016

20 Mysteries: Jesus is Crucified

Matthew 27:33-61:

[33] And they came to the place that is called Golgotha, which is the place of Calvary. [34] And they gave him wine to drink mingled with gall. And when he had tasted, he would not drink. [35] And after they had crucified him, they divided his garments, casting lots; that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying: They divided my garments among them; and upon my vesture they cast lots.

[36] And they sat and watched him. [37] And they put over his head his cause written: THIS IS JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS. [38] Then were crucified with him two thieves: one on the right hand, and one on the left. [39] And they that passed by, blasphemed him, wagging their heads, [40] And saying: Vah, thou that destroyest the temple of God, and in three days dost rebuild it: save thy own self: if thou be the Son of God, come down from the cross.

[41] In like manner also the chief priests, with the scribes and ancients, mocking, said: [42] He saved others; himself he cannot save. If he be the king of Israel, let him now come down from the cross, and we will believe him. [43] He trusted in God; let him now deliver him if he will have him; for he said: I am the Son of God. [44] And the selfsame thing the thieves also, that were crucified with him, reproached him with. [45] Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over the whole earth, until the ninth hour.

[46] And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying: Eli, Eli, lamma sabacthani? that is, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? [47] And some that stood there and heard, said: This man calleth Elias. [48] And immediately one of them running took a sponge, and filled it with vinegar; and put it on a reed, and gave him to drink. [49] And the others said: Let be, let us see whether Elias will come to deliver him. [50] And Jesus again crying with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost.

[51] And behold the veil of the temple was rent in two from the top even to the bottom, and the earth quaked, and the rocks were rent. [52] And the graves were opened: and many bodies of the saints that had slept arose, [53] And coming out of the tombs after his resurrection, came into the holy city, and appeared to many. [54] Now the centurion and they that were with him watching Jesus, having seen the earthquake, and the things that were done, were sore afraid, saying: Indeed this was the Son of God. [55] And there were there many women afar off, who had followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering unto him:

[56] Among whom was Mary Magdalen, and Mary the mother of James and Joseph, and the mother of the sons of Zebedee. [57] And when it was evening, there came a certain rich man of Arimathea, named Joseph, who also himself was a disciple of Jesus. [58] He went to Pilate, and asked the body of Jesus. Then Pilate commanded that the body should be delivered. [59] And Joseph taking the body, wrapped it up in a clean linen cloth. [60] And laid it in his own new monument, which he had hewed out in a rock. And he rolled a great stone to the door of the monument, and went his way.
[61] And there was there Mary Magdalen, and the other Mary sitting over against the sepulchre.

Mark 15:22-47:

[22] And they bring him into the place called Golgotha, which being interpreted is, The place of Calvary. [23] And they gave him to drink wine mingled with myrrh; but he took it not. [24] And crucifying him, they divided his garments, casting lots upon them, what every man should take. [25] And it was the third hour, and they crucified him.

[26] And the inscription of his cause was written over: THE KING OF THE JEWS. [27] And with him they crucify two thieves; the one on his right hand, and the other on his left. [28] And the scripture was fulfilled, which saith: And with the wicked he was reputed. [29] And they that passed by blasphemed him, wagging their heads, and saying: Vah, thou that destroyest the temple of God, and in three days buildest it up again; [30] Save thyself, coming down from the cross.

[31] In like manner also the chief priests mocking, said with the scribes one to another: He saved others; himself he cannot save. [32] Let Christ the king of Israel come down now from the cross, that we may see and believe. And they that were crucified with him reviled him. [33] And when the sixth hour was come, there was darkness over the whole earth until the ninth hour. [34] And at the ninth hour, Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying: Eloi, Eloi, lamma sabacthani? Which is, being interpreted, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? [35] And some of the standers by hearing, said: Behold he calleth Elias.

[36] And one running and filling a sponge with vinegar, and putting it upon a reed, gave him to drink, saying: Stay, let us see if Elias come to take him down. [37] And Jesus having cried out with a loud voice, gave up the ghost. [38] And the veil of the temple was rent in two, from the top to the bottom. [39] And the centurion who stood over against him, seeing that crying out in this manner he had given up the ghost, said: Indeed this man was the son of God. [40] And there were also women looking on afar off: among whom was Mary Magdalen, and Mary the mother of James the less and of Joseph, and Salome:

[41] Who also when he was in Galilee followed him, and ministered to him, and many other women that came up with him to Jerusalem. [42] And when evening was now come, (because it was the Parasceve, that is, the day before the sabbath,) [43] Joseph of Arimathea, a noble counsellor, who was also himself looking for the kingdom of God, came and went in boldly to Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus. [44] But Pilate wondered that he should be already dead. And sending for the centurion, he asked him if he were already dead. [45] And when he had understood it by the centurion, he gave the body to Joseph.

[46] And Joseph buying fine linen, and taking him down, wrapped him up in the fine linen, and laid him in a sepulchre which was hewed out of a rock. And he rolled a stone to the door of the sepulchre. [47] And Mary Magdalen, and Mary the mother of Joseph, beheld where he was laid.

Luke 23:32-56:

[32] And there were also two other malefactors led with him to be put to death. [33] And when they were come to the place which is called Calvary, they crucified him there; and the robbers, one on the right hand, and the other on the left. [34] And Jesus said: Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do. But they, dividing his garments, cast lots. [35] And the people stood beholding, and the rulers with them derided him, saying: He saved others; let him save himself, if he be Christ, the elect of God.

[36] And the soldiers also mocked him, coming to him, and offering him vinegar, [37] And saying: If thou be the king of the Jews, save thyself. [38] And there was also a superscription written over him in letters of Greek, and Latin, and Hebrew: THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS. [39] And one of those robbers who were hanged, blasphemed him, saying: If thou be Christ, save thyself and us. [40] But the other answering, rebuked him, saying: Neither dost thou fear God, seeing thou art condemned under the same condemnation?

[41] And we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds; but this man hath done no evil. [42] And he said to Jesus: Lord, remember me when thou shalt come into thy kingdom. [43] And Jesus said to him: Amen I say to thee, this day thou shalt be with me in paradise. [44] And it was almost the sixth hour; and there was darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour. [45] And the sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was rent in the midst.

[46] And Jesus crying out with a loud voice, said: Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit. And saying this, he gave up the ghost. [47] Now the centurion, seeing what was done, glorified God,
saying: Indeed this was a just man. [48] And all the multitude of them that were come together to that sight, and saw the things that were done, returned striking their breasts. [49] And all his acquaintance, and the women that had followed him from Galilee, stood afar off, beholding these things. [50] And behold there was a man named Joseph, who was a counsellor, a good and just man,

[51] (The same had not consented to their counsel and doings;) of Arimathea, a city of Judea; who also himself looked for the kingdom of God. [52] This man went to Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus. [53] And taking him down, he wrapped him in fine linen, and laid him in a sepulchre that was hewed in stone, wherein never yet any man had been laid. [54] And it was the day of the Parasceve, and the sabbath drew on. [55] And the women that were come with him from Galilee, following after, saw the sepulchre, and how his body was laid.

[56] And returning, they prepared spices and ointments; and on the sabbath day they rested, according to the commandment.

John 19:17-41:

[17] And bearing his own cross, he went forth to that place which is called Calvary, but in Hebrew Golgotha. [18] Where they crucified him, and with him two others, one on each side, and Jesus in the midst. [19] And Pilate wrote a title also, and he put it upon the cross. And the writing was: JESUS OF NAZARETH, THE KING OF THE JEWS. [20] This title therefore many of the Jews did read: because the place where Jesus was crucified was nigh to the city: and it was written in Hebrew, in Greek, and in Latin.

[21] Then the chief priests of the Jews said to Pilate: Write not, The King of the Jews; but that he said, I am the King of the Jews. [22] Pilate answered: What I have written, I have written. [23] The soldiers therefore, when they had crucified him, took his garments, (and they made four parts, to every soldier a part,) and also his coat. Now the coat was without seam, woven from the top throughout. [24] They said then one to another: Let us not cut it, but let us cast lots for it, whose it shall be; that the scripture might be fulfilled, saying: They have parted my garments among them, and upon my vesture they have cast lots. And the soldiers indeed did these things. [25] Now there stood by the cross of Jesus, his mother, and his mother' s sister, Mary of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalen.

[26] When Jesus therefore had seen his mother and the disciple standing whom he loved, he saith to his mother: Woman, behold thy son. [27] After that, he saith to the disciple: Behold thy mother. And from that hour, the disciple took her to his own. [28] Afterwards, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, said: I thirst. [29] Now there was a vessel set there full of vinegar. And they, putting a sponge full of vinegar and hyssop, put it to his mouth. [30] Jesus therefore, when he had taken the vinegar, said: It is consummated. And bowing his head, he gave up the ghost.

[31] Then the Jews, (because it was the parasceve,) that the bodies might not remain on the cross on the sabbath day, (for that was a great sabbath day,) besought Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away. [32] The soldiers therefore came; and they broke the legs of the first, and of the other that was crucified with him. [33] But after they were come to Jesus, when they saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. [34] But one of the soldiers with a spear opened his side, and immediately there came out blood and water. [35] And he that saw it, hath given testimony, and his testimony is true. And he knoweth that he saith true; that you also may believe.

[36] For these things were done, that the scripture might be fulfilled: You shall not break a bone of him. [37] And again another scripture saith: They shall look on him whom they pierced. [38] And after these things, Joseph of Arimathea (because he was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews) besought Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus. And Pilate gave leave. He came therefore, and took the body of Jesus. [39] And Nicodemus also came, (he who at the first came to Jesus by night,) bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about an hundred pound weight. [40] They took therefore the body of Jesus, and bound it in linen cloths, with the spices, as the manner of the Jews is to bury.

[41] Now there was in the place where he was crucified, a garden; and in the garden a new sepulchre, wherein no man yet had been laid. [42] There, therefore, because of the parasceve of the Jews, they laid Jesus, because the sepulchre was nigh at hand.

Image result for crucifixion

Praised be Jesus Christ!

Now and forever. Amen.

I apologize for being away for so long (nearly three months). Such is life, I suppose. Nevertheless, I’m back to continue the 20 Mysteries series, and it's the most difficult reflections, for me anyway, emotionally speaking: the crucifixion of Our Lord.

I posted the full text of the account of the Crucifixion from all four Gospels so that you could see
them side by side, and note the minor detail differences. If you didn’t read all of it, that’s okay. They’re mostly the same, but I will be referencing some of the variations as I go.

Oh, and also, I’m testing out a new blogging platform, so if the text and stuff doesn’t display properly, I apologize.

The Pasch

I want to remind everyone that this was the week of the Passover Feast of the Jewish Calendar of Feasts and Festivals, as well as their Sacred Calendar. The Passover Feast is the commemoration of the night when God sent the Angel of Death to kill all of the firstborn of Egypt as the final plague that would cause Pharaoh to release the Hebrews to freedom, and the Jews, who slaughtered a pure lamb and consumed it in its entirety, and then put the blood of the lamb on their doorposts as a sign that they would be saved from this plague of death and the angel “passed over” them.

That is the setting of this event. Earlier, we saw the Lamb of God consumed in His entirety during the Eucharistic supper. Now, He is being slaughtered, and His blood is shed that His people might be freed from the bondage of death. We, in Christianity, celebrate this same Pasch (Passover) during what we in English speaking countries call Easter, but rather than celebrating the foreshadowing, we celebrate the True Pasch of Jesus’ victory over death and the redemption he has won for us.

You will see references in the above texts to the “Parasceve”. The parasceve is the day before the Sabbath, and is considered a day of preparation in advance of the Sabbath, during which they could not work. During the Paschal Week, this particular parasceve was called the “Parasceve of the Pasch” and preceded the “Great Sabbath” which was a special Sabbath that occurred during the week of the Paschal Feast.

The Great Sabbath is a foreshadowing of the Eternal rest that we will find in Heaven. Jesus’ work on the Cross, then, is the “preparation” for that Great Sabbath. His Eucharist, Passion and Death are the preparatory works which free us from the bonds of sin and death, and if we are to share in the rest of that Great Eternal Sabbath, we must enter into these mysteries, and share in Jesus’ Eucharist, Passion and Death that the Angel of Death might also pass over us.

Jesus’ Passion and Death

So far, we have seen the sufferings of Jesus, and how at each stage of His Passion, each of these sufferings is compounded by additional sufferings, and deepened. That is true in this final stage as well. His first suffering, agony, reaches a peak, and Jesus exclaims “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” He has reached the pinnacle of desolation, He is confronted with the immediacy of His impending death and has experienced the deep isolation that has become a part of the human condition.

His second suffering, physical trauma, is only heightened in this final stage of Roman execution. He is nailed by His hands and feet to the cross He carried. He is hung from that cross and suspended only by those nails and the strength of his muscle and bone tissues that surrounded the nail wounds. His weight, and the lack of strength that remained in Him, would have put great pressure on His lungs, making it very difficult to breathe, and taking breathes likely required Him to pull Himself up, so to speak.

His third suffering, humiliation, was made worse. The Romans stripped Him of His clothes and hung Him up before all to see, naked, beaten, bloody, and hung together along with two other criminals. The Roman soldiers, the Jewish authorities and many bystanders laughed at Him and made fun of Him, taunting Him for His assertions and demonstrations of power, and the fact that He was unable to save Himself from this misery.

His fourth suffering, prolonged suffering that required endurance, fortitude, and an acceptance of it--a participation in it—culminated here. He was hung up on the cross at the 3rd hour (9am), but did not die until the 9th hour (3pm). This means He hung up on that cross for six hours before finally dying. Having endured extreme physical trauma at His scourging, having carried a cross for several kilometers, He struggled for breath, and bled out for six hours. He had the Divine power to save Himself, but did not exercise it. He was offered wine and gall/myrrh, which would have acted as a numbing agent, so that He would not feel the pain so sharply, but He refused it. He could have simply allowed Himself to suffocate to death, but He fought to keep breathing. He could simply have just let go of it all, the way many who are severely sick just let go and allow themselves to die, but He didn’t.
He endured His suffering until His appointed hour, the 9th hour of the Parasceve of the Pasch. The ninth hour was the time of the regular evening sacrifice in Jewish custom, as well as the time of their evening prayers, which ended the day.

At the ninth hour, Elijah prayed to God against the prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel, and God answered by fire from heaven. Ezra’s great prayer of confession and intercession, which was followed by a return of Israel to God, also occurred at the ninth hour. When Daniel uttered his own prayer of confession and intercession "about the time of the evening oblation", God sent the angel Gabriel to answer his prayer.

The ninth hour is the hour God’s people offer sacrifice to Him, and it is the hour God sends salvation to His people. This was Jesus’ hour, His hour of sacrifice, as a man, and His hour of salvation as God.

His Last Words

Jesus uttered seven phrases from the cross. We would do well to learn these words, to reflect on them and come to understand them in their depth. He doesn’t say much, but what He does say reveals much.

Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.

Let these words be a magnificent comfort to you. Jesus enjoys the Divine life, the Divine communion. He knows in its fullness, the majesty of God’s goodness and love. In entering into the mystery of the horror of human sin, suffering and death, Jesus comes to clearly understand the true enormity of our ignorance. If we could see the sheer ugliness of our wickedness, it would stagger us into utter stupidity. Our ignorance of the great glory of God and the awful offense that our sins are against Him is the only thing protecting us from immediate and total damnation.

Jesus recognizes our ignorance and prays to the Father to forgive us because we truly do not know what we are doing. Our sins cry out to Heaven for justice, but Jesus prays for mercy. And He does not just do this at any time. He does this at the very moment when we are killing Him, putting Him through the worst torture and humiliation. It is at the moment when we are sinning, the moment we are doing our worst deeds, that Jesus prays for our forgiveness. Remember that the next time you find yourself committing that same old terrible sin that you’ve been doing for as long as you can remember. Even then, He is praying to the Father for your forgiveness.

Amen I say to thee, this day thou shalt be with me in paradise.

If Jesus is praying for you even at your worst, then you MUST respond! These next words, which Jesus speaks to the good thief (St. Dysmas), are a promise that He offers to all of us, should we repent of our sins and turn to Him. “Truly I say to you, you will be with me in paradise.” What an awesome gift! Repent!

Woman, behold thy son. -- Behold thy mother.

The words Jesus speaks to Mary, His mother, and to John, His beloved disciple, are also given to us. Jesus addresses Mary as He has done in the past (think back to the Wedding at Cana); “Woman”. This is to signify that He is speaking to her as the New Adam, and she as the New Eve (for Eve was named woman, or Isha, by Adam before the fall, after which she became Eve). Thus, He is speaking to her, in the capacity of her relationship to all of humanity. He says to her: behold thy son, and to John: behold thy mother.

She, as Woman, is our spiritual mother. She is the Geborah, the Great Lady, the Queen Mother of the Davidic Kingship. As the Geborah, she dispenses the treasury of graces that belong to the King, Jesus, to her people as they come to her with petitions. Jesus gives her to us as a special aid to help bring us to Him, to aid us on our road to repentance. If you need help repenting, ask your Mother.

My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?

This exclamation made by Jesus is scandalous to many, mainly because it’s widely misunderstood. Jesus appears to be despairing here. Some authors even go so far as to suggest that Jesus was actually cut off from communion with the Father. This is heresy, of course, because the Divine Godhead cannot be divided, and the Hypostatic Union can likewise also not be divided. Certainly, Jesus experienced the human condition, and understood the sense of isolation and loneliness that we often feel at the silence of God. But, He, being God, was not disconnected from the Father, and so could not have meant this phrase with a literal meaning. He was not despairing. Rather the opposite. This phrase implies hope.

How do we arrive at this understanding? We do so when we realize that Jesus is actually uttering the first sentence of an ancient Jewish prayer that comes from the Psalms of David: Psalm 21:[2] “O God my God, look upon me: why hast thou forsaken me? Far from my salvation are the words of my sins.”

In this prayer, we see that the reality of sin, our sins, is what cuts us off from God, and what creates in us this sense of isolation, of separation from God. However, if one reads this prayer in its entirety, it becomes clear that the prayer is a prayer of hope. The author the prayer reflects on his current situation as hopeless. Every evil has come upon him, and there seems no hope. And every cry he sends to heaven appears to be unanswered, and the heavens are silent.

But then he remembers his forefathers, and the help that always came to them from God. Jesus’ prayer here is not one of despair. It is a prayer of deliverance, and hope. But, if we are to understand that it is sin which binds us, which cuts us off from God, then as a prayer of deliverance, Jesus must have been praying it for us. It is encouragement to us.

First, He prays to the Father for our forgiveness. Then, He promises to us that if we repent, we will join Him in paradise. Then, He gives us His mother as a great aid in that journey. Now, He encourages us to keep trying, even when we feel like God is not hearing our prayers, like the heavens are silent, and our sins continue to cut us off from Him: HAVE HOPE, and remember the faithfulness of God. He does hear us, and we must persevere.

I thirst.

Jesus, knowing “all things were now accomplished”, said “I thirst.” Jesus says this after His mission is completed. Jesus has done what He came to do. He is ready to die. But He says one final thing to us. It is His final interaction with us before He dies. “I thirst.”

What does He thirst for? What does Jesus thirst for? Surely, it wasn’t for the vinegar that they offered Him. We thirst for something, too, don’t we? At the well, when Jesus spoke to the woman, He offered her living water, which, after drinking it, would satisfy her thirst, and she would never be thirsty again. Well, who is that living water, if not Jesus, Himself? We thirst for God, for that relationship with Him, even if we recognize it or not.

Well, that thirst isn’t a one-way street. God thirsts for us too. He wants that relationship with us as much as we want it with Him. More so, actually! Infinitely more so.

Jesus has just finished giving us direction and instruction to come back to Him, praying to the Father to forgive us. Why? Because He thirsts for us. He came down from Heaven, became a finite creature, the infinite God! He came for us, because He thirsts for us! Let us not deny Him.

It is consummated.

He has completed His mission. He has loved us in as great a way as He could, by laying down His life for us. He’s done everything He can, for His part. The rest remains for us to do; to respond to this great gift of self. He can do no more. His work is finished. It is consummated. All He can do now is wait for us to come to Him, to recognize His gift, and thank Him for it, and repent of our sins, and enter back into loving relationship with Him.

Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit.

He has completed the will of the Father, He can do no more, and commends Himself into His Father’s loving hands. You can imagine a loving father catching his son as he collapses from exhaustion. Gently, he takes him to rest.

God bless.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

20 Mysteries: Jesus Carries His Cross

Matthew 10:38:

[38] And he that taketh not up his cross, and followeth me, is not worthy of me.

Matthew 16:24:

[24] Then Jesus said to his disciples: If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.

Luke 14:27:

[27] And whosoever doth not carry his cross and come after me, cannot be my disciple.

Matthew 11:28-30:

[28] Come to me, all you that labour, and are burdened, and I will refresh you. [29] Take up my yoke upon you, and learn of me, because I am meek, and humble of heart: and you shall find rest to your souls. [30] For my yoke is sweet and my burden light.

Mark 15:20-21:

[20] And after they had mocked him, they took off the purple from him, and put his own garments on him, and they led him out to crucify him.
[21] And they forced one Simon a Cyrenian who passed by, coming out of the country, the father of Alexander and of Rufus, to take up his cross.

Luke 23:26-31:

[26] And as they led him away, they laid hold of one Simon of Cyrene, coming from the country; and they laid the cross on him to carry after Jesus. [27] And there followed him a great multitude of people, and of women, who bewailed and lamented him. [28] But Jesus turning to them, said: Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not over me; but weep for yourselves, and for your children. [29] For behold, the days shall come, wherein they will say: Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that have not borne, and the paps that have not given suck. [30] Then shall they begin to say to the mountains: Fall upon us; and to the hills: Cover us.
[31] For if in the green wood they do these things, what shall be done in the dry?

John 19:16-17:

[16] Then therefore he delivered him to them to be crucified. And they took Jesus, and led him forth. [17] And bearing his own cross, he went forth to that place which is called Calvary, but in Hebrew Golgotha.

Praised be Jesus Christ!

Now and forever. Amen.

In this mystery, the character of Jesus' suffering takes on a new dimension. In the previous mysteries, Jesus is a passive participant in His suffering. What He endured -- the agony, the physical torment, the mockery -- He endured passively. He was a participant in these sufferings by the fact that He allowed them to occur, but He was passive in them.

In this mystery, Jesus becomes an active participant in His suffering. He deliberately takes up the cross, the symbol of Roman torture and death, the central symbol of His own suffering and death. This is an important lesson for us. Suffering is central to Jesus Kingdom. We shouldn't run from it when it comes to us. But more than that, we shouldn't be unwilling participants, and simply accept that it has to happen. We should actively accept, to take hold of, the suffering that comes to us, to embrace it as a gift from the Father.

Note, however, that Jesus never went out of His way to cause harm to Himself. Moreover, there were certain occasions in His ministry wherein He deliberately avoided harm (think about when the people of His own district drove Him to a hill to throw Him off of it, but He escaped).

This act, then, must be understood within a specific context: the context of salvation. Jesus' suffering wasn't meaningless. He accepted this for a reason and at a specific time (both in history and during the Jewish sacred calendar), and in a unique way. He embraced the suffering of this, His Passion, for the redemption of humanity and the salvation of souls, accomplished during the Pasch, that the angel of death would pass over us, and as High Priest in the order of Melchisedech.

Thus, our suffering should likewise not be without meaning. It should not be sought out, nor endured for its own sake. Our suffering should be embraced within the context of our own redemption and salvation, offered to the Father through and with Jesus, being made perfect by the perfection of His own offering.

But be certain, for Our Lord Jesus warns us, "he that taketh not up his cross, and followeth me, is not worthy of me." We must accept the crosses, the sufferings, the come to us. Discipleship of Jesus requires it. But don't be afraid of this, because Jesus promises us something else; He promises us that the cross is sweet and light.

Take My Yoke Upon You

For anyone reading this who doesn't really know what a yoke is, I'll explain, and I'll be honest, this information is relatively new to me too, so don't feel bad.

A yoke is the wooden crossbeam that goes across the shoulders of two animals, such as oxen, and is attached to a plow or cart that they are, together, pulling. Check out this image to get a better idea:

In the Passion narrative, the obvious image of this is Simon of Cyrene helping Jesus carry His cross. You can imagine Simon bearing one arm of the cross, and Jesus bearing the other, as two oxen yoke with a burden. Well, when Jesus tells us to take His yoke upon us, what else can He mean but His cross?

On the one hand, Jesus tells us that, if we are to be His disciples, we must take up our cross daily and follow Him. On the other hand, Jesus tells to take His yoke upon us. There is a hidden mystery here. Our cross is His yoke, and His yoke is our cross. This is because Jesus has already lifted the burden of our sins upon His shoulders. Whether we pick up our crosses or not, Jesus has already done so. The true weight of the cross is not found in the sinews of its wood. Rather, it is found in the terrible cost of our sins.

Our cross is Jesus' yoke. The cross He carried to Calvary is really our own. The truth is that Simon of Cyrene wasn't helping Jesus carry His cross, Jesus was helping Simon carry his. And whenever we take up the responsibility of our sins, each time we accept the sufferings that belong to us, we stand in the shoes of Simon of Cyrene, and we accept the yoke of Jesus' cross, because it's our own.

And since Jesus is already doing all the heavy lifting, we really own bear a small portion of the burden. A small portion of the burden of our own sins.

But there are two more mysteries associated with this yoke. The first is that, because Jesus' cross carries the weight of all sin, from all men, through all time, when we take up His yoke, when we unite our sufferings to His, we really take up the yoke of the sins of all men with Him. This is why, when we unite our sufferings to Christ, and carry even the small burden that we do, we carry it on behalf of all men, of all who suffer and sin. This is why our own suffering can merit the relief from suffering of others, such as those who suffer in Purgatory. It is because the cross is one, and if we pick it up, we, with Christ, pick it up not just for ourselves, but for all.

And this draws us into the second of these two further mysteries: that those who are yoked together move together. This is true. When two animals are yoked, they cannot go their own ways. As one moves left, the other must also move left, or they do not move at all. As one moves forward, the other also moves forward.

It is fitting that Jesus calls His cross a yoke. For when we pick up the cross, and bear this yoke upon our own shoulders, we become yoked to Christ. As He moves, so do we. In the mystery of the cross, Jesus works through us. This is revealed further when Jesus tells us, "Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abide in the vine, so neither can you, unless you abide in me" (John 15:4). Insofar as we pick up our crosses daily and follow Jesus, He works in us. This is because by pickup up His cross, we are yoked together, and what work we do, He does. This is why Paul tells us that it is not he, but Jesus through Him, who works.

And the promise that Jesus makes to us, if we pick up His cross daily, is this: "Come to me, all you that labour, and are burdened, and I will refresh you. Take up my yoke upon you, and learn of me, because I am meek, and humble of heart: and you shall find rest to your souls. For my yoke is sweet and my burden light."

Weep Not Over Me, But Weep For Yourselves, and For Your Children

So, in light of all of this, what Jesus tells the weeping women begins to make sense. Though the suffering that Jesus is enduring is terrible -- remember all that has gone before, and even after His crowning with thorns, they remove the purple robe, reopening all the wounds on His body, replacing His old robes back on Him, then forcing Him to walk through the city to a country hill, carrying the wood of the cross upon which He is to be executed; humiliation, excruciating pain, the terror of impending death, and the impossible burden of bearing the weight of this cross -- though His suffering was terrible, it is nothing compared to sin.

Weep for sin, and the sins you commit. "For if in the green wood they do these things, what shall be done in the dry?" What shall be done? It is wickedness, evil action, sin that Jesus tells them to weep for, not His suffering. His suffering is redemptive, it brings about healing and easement. Do not weep for that! Weep for sins! For, because of sin we are condemned to suffering and death and eternal damnation. Sin dries up the fertility of our souls. It leaves us barren. There will come a time when that which is evil is called a blessing. Weep for that time.

When we are able to see with the eyes of Christ, our hearts will be turned. We will not run away from the cross. We will embrace it, as He did, as a beautiful remedy to the ills that plague our world. We should not be sorrowful over suffering. Our sorrow should be over evil, over the evil we commit, and over the evil we see others commit. This is the true tragedy of our world, not that there is suffering, but that there is sin!

In the face of our own failings, then, the yoke of the cross becomes a balm, which soothes our souls, and our consciences, and heals our friendship with God. So, let us each pick up our cross daily, stand in the place of Simon, and yoke ourselves to Christ. He is already carrying our burdens. Let us share in it.

God bless.

Monday, August 1, 2016

20 Mysteries: Jesus is Crowned with a Crown of Thorns - Part III

John: 14:6:

[6] Jesus saith to him: I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No man cometh to the Father, but by me. 

John 14:12:

[12] Otherwise believe for the very works' sake. Amen, amen I say to you, he that believeth in me, the works that I do, he also shall do; and greater than these shall he do.

John 14:17:

[17] The spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, nor knoweth him: but you shall know him; because he shall abide with you, and shall be in you. 

John 14:27:

[27] Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, do I give unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, nor let it be afraid. 

John 15:3-5:

[3] Now you are clean by reason of the word, which I have spoken to you. [4] Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abide in the vine, so neither can you, unless you abide in me. [5] I am the vine: you the branches: he that abideth in me, and I in him, the same beareth much fruit: for without me you can do nothing.

John 15:9-10:

[9] As the Father hath loved me, I also have loved you. Abide in my love. [10] If you keep my commandments, you shall abide in my love; as I also have kept my Father' s commandments, and do abide in his love.

John 15:11-15:

[11] These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and your joy may be filled. [12]This is my commandment, that you love one another, as I have loved you. [13] Greater love than this no man hath, that a man lay down his life for his friends. [14] You are my friends, if you do the things that I command you. [15] I will not now call you servants: for the servant knoweth not what his lord doth. But I have called you friends: because all things whatsoever I have heard of my Father, I have made known to you.

John 15:18:

[18] If the world hate you, know ye, that it hath hated me before you.

John 15:20:

[20] Remember my word that I said to you: The servant is not greater than his master. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you: if they have kept my word, they will keep yours also.

John 16:6-11:

[6] But because I have spoken these things to you, sorrow hath filled your heart. [7] But I tell you the truth: it is expedient to you that I go: for if I go not, the Paraclete will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. [8] And when he is come, he will convince the world of sin, and of justice, and of judgment. [9] Of sin: because they believed not in me. [10] And of justice: because I go to the Father; and you shall see me no longer. [11] And of judgment: because the prince of this world is already judged.

John 16:20:

[20] Amen, amen I say to you, that you shall lament and weep, but the world shall rejoice; and you shall be made sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy.

Praised be Jesus Christ!

Now and forever. Amen.

In part I of this "miniseries," I mentioned that in this third part I would delve deeper into the centrality that suffering takes in His Kingdom, at least for the time being, and that I would examine how Jesus approaches suffering both in this mystery, and the others, why He approaches it this way, and why doing likewise will lead to great joy for us.

Well, here we are. I think by examining these latter questions, regarding Jesus' approach to suffering, we may come to understand why suffering is a central part of His Kingdom, though, in the end, some words will certainly need to be said about it.

Before I begin, though, I would like to take this opportunity to summarize the previous two parts. In part I, I looked at the Mystery of Jesus' coronation with a wreath of thorns, as emblematic of the Person of Jesus, as God, as King, as sufferer, as victor, as bridegroom. I pointed out that all of Jesus' sufferings from the previous Mysteries were present still, and that they would remain to His death, that from His agony in the Garden of Gethsemani, His suffering only grew, and would continue to grow to its culmination in His death.

In part II, I explored the origins of human suffering and death in the Fall of our first king, Adam, through his Original Sin, which was a sin of pride, of disobedience, and of hatred. This Original Sin has left its mark on all of human history. It has marred human relationships, from romance to politics. It, and all human sin, is the source of human suffering, and of human death, both physical and spiritual.

Jesus came to change this. So, let's look at that.

He Will Convince the World

In Jesus' discourse to the Apostles just prior to His Passion, He explains that He must "go to the Father," and that when He does, He will send the "Paraclete" (or Consoler), and that this Paraclete would "convince the world of sin, and of justice, and of judgement" (John 16:8). This teaching, I believe, gives us the key reasons for Jesus' coming.

He came because of sin, which is the source of human suffering and death. He came because of justice, because without it, sin and death would persist. He came because of judgement, because without justice for humanity, the judgement of Hellfire is certain, as it is certain for the demons. The central element here is justice: it restores the ill that has gone before it, and it prevents the ills that may yet come.

Justice, then, is the central reason. But there is something else here that goes beyond logic. Logic and reason come out of God, they are expressions of unity, consistency, and integrity of His infinite and eternal intellect. This is true, also, of Justice, which is an expression of the unity, consistency, and integrity of His infinite and eternal will. But the central character of God is different. It is both reasonable and just, but it is neither of these things. It is what we call Love.

And it is for Love, that Jesus came. "Greater love than this no man hath, that a man lay down his life for his friends" (John 15:13). If Jesus came to suffer and die for us, then it is for this reason: love. 

Jesus tells us, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life" (John 14:6). Goodness is the proper object of the will. So, Jesus shows us the Way of Goodness. Truth is the proper object of the intellect. So, Jesus teaches us the Truth. Life is the proper object of love. So, Jesus came to give us life. The most important of these is love, because the lie leads to death, the sin leads to death, and hatred leads to death, and the only path to life is love. So, truth and goodness are reliant on love.

It is therefore, out of Love, that Jesus came to us. He came to give us life. But, remember, untruth and evil lead to death, they lead to hatred, therefore, it is not for love alone that Jesus came, but to restore us in fullness, by teaching us the truth, that we may know the truth and not be susceptible to deception, and by acting in complete goodness, that we may walk in His path, and obey His commandments into all goodness.

By this, our natures might be restored.

The Justice of Suffering

But the question has to be asked, why is suffering so important? Why did Jesus have to endure such terrible suffering, and even death? If love and justice are the answers, why do these things demand suffering? The truth is that love and justice do not demand suffering, of themselves. They do demand this in the face of sin, though. 

By sin, we violate our relationship with God, and we harm our own natures. The two consequences of sin are suffering and death. This is the teaching of the Church, a fact of our Faith.

By way of analogy we can understand the "mechanics" of what's going on here. If you take a knife, and you make a cut in your arm, we may say that you have violated the natural integrity of your arm, separating the skin and muscle tissues. This "state" is, in a sense, unnatural. It is also painful, and that pain is a natural consequence to the unnatural state of your arm being cut.

If we try to remove the natural consequence of pain, that leads us to all kinds of problems. The body's nervous system responds to the pain, and activates it's natural healing mechanisms. The blood begins to clot, forming a scab over the wound, a protective barrier that will allow the wound to heal, and to prevent further blood loss. If we could remove pain from our experience of that wound, our body's nervous system would not activate, the clot would not form, the wound would not heal, blood would continue to flow out of it, and it could very well become infected. This, inevitably, will lead to death. We see this in leprosy, wherein the body's nervous system begins to shut down, and over time parts of the body go numb, and pain reception is lost.

But, besides activating that which causes healing, pain also acts as a warning against future wounds. Having felt the pain of having my arm cut, I will work to prevent this occurring again in the future. If I remove the pain, I will not avoid this in the future, causing further wounds, which, accumulating, will lead to death more quickly.

This is how sin works. This analogy is as applicable to the corruption of our natures, as it is to the corruption of relationships. Thus, because the natural consequences of sin are suffering and death, in order to heal the wounds left by sin, it is right and just that we accept these consequences, without attempt at avoidance of them. In accepting these consequences, and allowing them to occur in our lives, we begin the healing process. If we attempt to avoid them, we will only fall further into the death-state of our sinfulness.

Thus, whatever healing Jesus would accomplish in His work of Salvation, it had to come by way of suffering and death. This is the only justice manner of our healing. What we lost, we regain by accepting the consequences of our sin: suffering and death.

Our True King

This is an incomplete picture, however. Justice demands a right and fitting restoration against the crime committed. If what we lost, we lost by way of a particular kind of sin, the to regain what was lost, it must be regained in a fitting act of goodness. The practice of "serving time," for example, may be a just punishment for some crimes, but not a just punishment for others.

The sin of our first king was particular. It was first an act of pride, second an act of disobedience, and third an act of hatred (turning back on God). The act itself was that of reaching for Divinity, the right to determine truth and goodness according to his own choosing. The restorative act, then, had to be a fitting counterpoint to this.

Thus, Jesus "Who being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men, and in habit found as a man" (Philippians 2:6-7). This was an act of humility; He did not deem Divinity to be something to be sought after at in His humanity. Adam was proud, seeking Divinity.

Thus, Jesus "Saying: Father, if thou wilt, remove this chalice from me: but yet not my will, but thine be done" (Luke 22:42). This was an act of obedience; He accepted God's will, even if it meant death. Adam disobeyed God's will, even if it meant death.

Thus, Jesus "[...] also hath loved us, and hath delivered himself for us, an oblation and a sacrifice to God for an odour of sweetness." This was an act of love; He loved us, and he loved the Father, and He lived for both. Adam sinned out of love for himself only. By his sin, he violated his relationship with God, and his relationship with Eve.

Jesus is our True King, who leads us into all glory. He leads us into truth, He leads us into goodness, and he leads us into life and love. He does so by showing us His way of suffering. So, let us abide in the love of Jesus, by following His commandments. 

Let us be particularly attentive to this one: "If any man will follow me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me" (Mark 8:34).

God bless.