15 April 2019

Make room for the Cross

Monday of Holy Week
Fr. Philip Neri Powell, OP
St D.'s, NOLA

This is a week of “self-emptying” for Christ. Yesterday, he entered Jerusalem to shouts of “Hosanna!” and “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” By Saturday, he will have been betrayed by a friend; arrested, denied, tortured, and nailed to a cross. He will be dead and buried. Yesterday, we heard Paul tell us, that “though he was in the form of God, [Christ] did not regard equality with God something to be grasped. Rather, he emptied himself (ἐκένωσεν). . .” He emptied himself of what? Not his divinity. Not his humanity. We need both for our salvation! Christ emptied himself of all attachments, all sentiments, all worldly weights and anchors. As Mary pours the expensive funereal oil on his feet and as Judas the Betrayer objects to the terrible waste, Jesus begins to die. He lets go of friends, family, disciples, anyone and anything that might allow “this cup to pass” from him. Jesus doesn't cease loving his family and friends in order to let them go. He begins to love them sacrificially. He pours them out so that the Father's will might more perfectly take their place. This is the challenge of Holy Week: detach, pour out, empty yourself so that there is nothing left in you but your desire to be crucified with Christ on Good Friday.

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