Saturday, March 31, 2012

The Tenth Station: Jesus is Stripped of His Garments

V. Adoramus te, Christe, et benedicimus tibi. [We adore Thee, O Christ, and we praise Thee.]
R. Quia per sanctam crucem tuam redemisti mundum. [Because by Thy holy Cross Thou hast redeemed the world.]

Pope John Paul II

From the Gospel according to Mark. 15:24
The soldiers divided his garments among them, casting lots for them, to decide what each should take.

MEDITATION

Tenth Station of the Cross,
Church of Saint-Brice-en-Coglès
As Jesus is stripped of his clothes at Golgotha (cf. Mk 15:24, etc.), our thoughts turn once more to his Mother. They go back in time to the first days of this body which now, even before the crucifixion, is covered with wounds (cf. Is 52:14). The mystery of the Incarnation: the Son of God takes his body from the Virgin’s womb (cf. Mt 1:23; Lk 1:26-38).

The Son of God speaks to the Father in the words of the Psalmist: “Sacrifice and offering you desired not; but a body you have prepared for me” (Ps 40:7; Heb 10:5). A man’s body is the expression of his soul. Christ’s body is the expression of his love for the Father: “Then I said, ‘Lo, I have come to do your will, O God” (Ps 40:7; Heb 10:7). “I always do what is pleasing to him” (Jn 8:29). With every wound, every spasm of pain, every wrenched muscle, every trickle of blood, with all the exhaustion in its arms, all the bruises and lacerations on its back and shoulders, this stripped body is carrying out the will of both Father and Son. It carries out the Father’s will when it is stripped naked and subjected to torture, when it takes unto itself the immeasurable pain of a humanity profaned.

The human body is profaned in any number of ways.

At this Station we must think of the Mother of Christ, because in her womb, in her eyes and in her arms the body of the Son of God was most fully adored.

ACCLAMATION

Jesus, sacred body, still violated in your living members. R. Kyrie, eleison.
Jesus, body offered in love, still divided in your members. R. Kyrie, eleison.

Pope Benedict XVI

From the Gospel according to Matthew. 27:33-36
And when they came to a place called Golgotha (which means the place of a skull), they offered him wine to drink, mingled with gall, but when he tasted it, he would not drink it. And when they had crucified him, they divided his garments among them by casting lots; then they sat down and kept watch over him there.
MEDITATION

James Tissot, Jesus is Stripped of His Clothing (c. 1890)
Jesus is stripped of his garments. Clothing gives a man his social position; it gives him his place in society, it makes him someone. His public stripping means that Jesus is no longer anything at all, he is simply an outcast, despised by all alike. The moment of the stripping reminds us of the expulsion from Paradise: God’s splendor has fallen away from man, who now stands naked and exposed, unclad and ashamed. And so Jesus once more takes on the condition of fallen man. Stripped of his garments, he reminds us that we have all lost the “first garment” that is God’s splendor.

At the foot of the Cross, the soldiers draw lots to divide his paltry possessions, his clothes. The Evangelists describe the scene with words drawn from Psalm 22:19; by doing so they tell us the same thing that Jesus would tell his disciples on the road to Emmaus: that everything takes place “according to the Scriptures”. Nothing is mere coincidence; everything that happens is contained in the Word of God and sustained by his divine plan. The Lord passes through all the stages and steps of man’s fall from grace, yet each of these steps, for all its bitterness, becomes a step towards our redemption: this is how he carries home the lost sheep. Let us not forget that John says that lots were drawn for Jesus’ tunic, “woven without seam from top to bottom” (Jn 19:23). We may consider this as a reference to the High Priest’s robe, which was “woven from a single thread”, without stitching (Fl. Josephus, a III, 161). For he, the Crucified One, is the true High Priest.

PRAYER

Lord Jesus, you were stripped of your garments, exposed to shame, cast out of society. You took upon yourself the shame of Adam, and you healed it. You also take upon yourself the sufferings and the needs of the poor, the outcasts of our world. And in this very way you fulfill the words of the prophets. This is how you bring meaning into apparent meaninglessness. This is how you make us realize that your Father holds you, us, and the whole world in his hands. Give us a profound respect for man at every stage of his existence, and in all the situations in which we encounter him. Clothe us in the light of your grace.

Tenth Station of the Cross (detail),
Pfettisheim Saint Symphorian
Pater noster, ...
Fac ut ardeat cor meum
in amando Christum Deum,
ut sibi complaceam.


Our Father, who art in Heaven,
Hallowed be Thy Name
Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done
on Earth as it is in Heaven.
Give us this day our Daily Bread,
and forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us,
and lead us not into temptation,

but deliver us from evil.


Make me feel as thou hast felt;
make my soul to glow and melt
with the love of Christ my Lord.

6 comments:

  1. Hey Joe, this is really off topic but I didn't see any email or other way to contact you. I was just going on tumblr and I found this post from a Jewish person: http://ylsw.tumblr.com/post/20239775471/anonim-apytal-a-with-the-coming-of-the-messiah-there

    I was wondering if you could do a post about it? I know pretty little about prophecies. Thanks for your time!

    ~Lauren

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    1. Lauren,

      So my initial reactions:
      (a) The author of that link (Singer-Whipp) is very sure of himself; and
      (b) He misrepresents (or doesn't understand) the New Testament, and the Christian understanding of these passages.

      So the post starts out with him citing a slew of OT passages that he claims Christ doesn't fulfill: Isaiah 2:1-4, 32:15-18, 60:15-18; Zephaniah 3:9; Hosea 2:20-22; Amos 9:13-15; Micah 4:1-4; Zechariah 8:23, 14:9; Jeremiah 31:33-34. Some of these passages refer to the opening of the covenant to the Gentiles: Christ has fulfilled those in an obvious way. Others refer to the ushering in of a Kingdom of Peace. Christ is the Prince of Peace, and we arrive at peace through Him, but these have not come to their complete fulfillment yet. Think about the role that the "Kingdom of Heaven" or "Kingdom of God" play in Christianity. Christ heralds it, and leads to a gradual "breaking in" of the Kingdom through Himself and through the Church.

      Nikosnature rightly notes that many of these passages seem eschatological, like they're about the end of time. Singer-Whipp responds that: "According to Talmud (Rosh HaShanah 31a and Sanhedrin 97a), Zohar 1:117a and Zohar Vayera 119a, the Messiah will come before the year 6,000. The Jewish calendar is currently in the year 5,772."

      But this argument falls flat, since (a) Christians don't accept the Talmud, and (b) the Talmud didn't even exist at the time of Christ. This only establishes that Christ doesn't fulfill post-Christian Jewish Messianic prophesies. But of course He doesn't. You could probably point to parts of the Qu'ran that He doesn't "fulfill," either. I'll add that Jews don't consider the Talmud or Midrash to be Scripture.

      (cont.)

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    2. Then he says: "Midrash (Pirke De Rabbi Eliezer, Gerald Friedlander, Sepher-Hermon Press, New York, 1981, p. 141) says that; “Six eons for going in and coming out, for war and peace. The seventh eon is entirely Shabbat and rest for life everlasting”. This suggests that there will be 6,000 years will be “for war and peace”, and the last lot of 1,000 years will be the entirely peaceful Yemos HaMashiach - one big Shabbos. Zohar Vayera 119a also supports this."

      So this is just more of the same. But it's worse, since I think even many Jews would recognize that the premise this is built upon (that Creation is 5,771 or 5,772 years old) is wrong. This is essentially the problem of Young Earth Creationism. It assumes that a year in God's time is the same as a year in our time, even though (1) Scripture tells us that's not true in both the Old and New Testaments (Ps. 90:4, 2 Peter 3:8), and (2) time isn't even a constant throughout our own cosmos.

      He then says that the Suffering Servant prophesies are about the nation of Israel, and not Jesus. As support, he notes that Israel is often referred to as God's servant, including in Isaiah. True, but God also refers to Eliakim (Is. 22:20), David (Is. 37:35), and Isaiah himself (Is. 20:3) as His servants in the Book of Isaiah. Beyond this, Christ acts on behalf of Israel, as the King of the Jews, and the “Hope of Israel” (Jer. 14:8, 17:3; Acts 28:20).

      We see this most clearly in Isaiah 49. In v. 3, God says to His Servant, “You are my servant, Israel, in whom I will display my splendor.” But look at v. 5-6:

      “And now the LORD says—he who formed me in the womb to be his servant to bring Jacob back to him and gather Israel to himself, for I am honored in the eyes of the LORD and my God has been my strength— He says: ‘It is too small a thing for you to be my servant to restore the tribes of Jacob and bring back those of Israel I have kept. I will also make you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring my salvation to the ends of the earth.’”

      See that? So while the Servant can act on behalf of Israel, He’s obviously not literally the nation of Israel, or these passages don’t make sense. Likewise passages like Isaiah 53:5 says: “But He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon Him, and by His wounds we are healed.” These make sense for the Atonement, but not if the Servant is literally Israel.

      Finally, look at his use of Mt. 16: "Jesus was never referred to as the Suffering Servant. Matthew 16:21-22 - Jesus said that he was going to suffer, and then his disciple Peter replied by saying that it will never happen to him." That’s ripped wildly out of context. Christ rebukes Peter, precisely because Peter is wrong. And the idea that the Suffering Servant references aren’t found throughout the New Testament is incredibly mistaken.

      I.X.,

      Joe

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  2. Thank you for posting these daily stations, Joe.

    Just to say you have typed Pope John Benedict XVI.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If I may steal material on Daniel chapter 9 from a website I no longer follow:

      The prophecy goes on to say that “from
      the issuing of a decree to restore and
      rebuild Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince
      there will be seven sevens (49) and sixty-
      two sevens (434). . . . Then after the sixty-
      two sevens the Messiah will be cut off and
      have nothing.”
      Nebuchadnezzar had Jerusalem dismantled
      around 587 BC after having to put down
      two rebellions there in less than 10 years.
      At the time this prophecy was given,
      Jerusalem still lay in ruins. According to
      the prophecy, from the decree to rebuild
      Jerusalem there would be seven seven-year
      periods and sixty-two more seven-year
      periods—or 483 years—until the Messiah
      would show up. After the culmination of
      the 62 seven-year periods, or after 483rd
      year, the Messiah would be cut off.
      Both the ancient Hebrews to whom Daniel
      was writing and the ancient Babylonians to
      whom he was subservient (Daniel
      supposedly having been written in Babylon
      during the latter half of the 6th century
      BC) used a 360-day year.
      So, 483 years x 360 days = 173,880 days.
      This is the equivalent of 476 years and 25
      days using our modern Gregorian
      calendar’s 365.24219879-day year.
      As for our starting point, the Persian
      Emperor Artaxerxes Longimanus (who
      ruled Persia from 464-424 BC) issued the
      edict to rebuild Jerusalem sometime during
      the Hebrew month of Nisan in the 20th
      year of his reign, or 444 BC (Nehemiah
      2:1-8). The month of Nisan fell between
      February 27 (Nisan 1) and March 28
      (Nisan 30) of that year according to our
      modern Gregorian calendar.
      Now, 173,880 days from February 27 -
      March 28, 444 BC, lands us at March 24 -
      April 22, AD 33.
      According to this prophecy, the Messiah
      would show up, present Himself as
      Messiah to the nation and then be “cut
      off” some time between March 24 and
      April 22, AD 33. Jesus Christ presented
      Himself to the nation of Israel on Palm
      Sunday, March 27, was crucified four days
      later on April 1, or “Preparation Day” (the
      annual day on which the Passover Lamb
      was slain), and rose from the dead on
      Sunday, April 3, AD 33, all within our 30-
      day range of dates.



      Eusibius supports this interpretation in passing in Church History Book 1 6:11

      Though I think 30AD is more probable than 33AD.

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