A Penitent Blogger

Mindful of my imperfections, seeking to know Truth more deeply and to live Love more fully.

Quid sum miser tunc dicturus? Quem patronum rogaturus? Cum vix iustus sit securus?
Recordare, Iesu pie, Quod sum causa tuae viae: Ne me perdas illa die...

Monday, September 14, 2009

"Even death on a cross"

We have seen many depictions of Christ’s death on the cross: from jeweled crucifixes and gory statuary to the depictions of films and television.

But these depictions almost always fall short in communicating at least one significant aspect of crucifixion.

A crucified man was stripped – not just literally, but also figuratively: stripped of dignity, reputation, and everything else – and hung openly by the side of the road where everybody could see the criminals die.

In the United States, when people are executed, it is a solemn and dramatic scene.

In the ancient Roman Empire, crucified criminals were set out like billboards.

Everyone saw the criminal hanging there and everyone traveled by as the criminal died slowly or as the criminal hung as dead flesh on a pole.

Yet, as Saint reminds us in today’s second reading (Philippians 2:6-11), our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ

humbled himself,
becoming obedient to death,
even death on a cross.

Reputation is a treasured thing in human society.

It is certainly important for us to cultivate our reputations as means by which we help support our families and even give witness to our Faith.

However, we cannot let fear of losing our reputation cause us to do evil.

Neither can we let fear of losing our reputation keep us from doing the good things in our lives that we know God wants us to do.

We should remember what Saint Paul says in the verse right before today’s second reading:

Have among yourselves
the same attitude that is also yours in Christ Jesus
who 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 death,
even death on a cross.

Because of this, God greatly exalted him
and bestowed on him the name
that is above every name,
that at the name of Jesus
every knee should bend,
of those in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue confess that
Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.