Friday, March 30, 2018

Good Friday Portraits pt 4: The Thief

Digna factis recipimus.

‘We have received the just reward for our deeds.’ But this man next to me… He’s done nothing wrong. His sentence is written there over his thorn-crowned head; it reads ‘King of the Jews.’ That’s not a crime. Is it? What is His crime? His accusers are many; all of us, I suppose, at one time or another. We of broken hearts and weary eyes, we look at this world and what we’ve made of it, and our insane but endlessly repeated verdict comes forth anew: God is guilty.

It makes me wonder: did we kill Him because He claimed to be God and we bridled at the blasphemous lie? Or did we kill Him because He claimed to be God… and we believed Him?

They call me Dismas. You’ve seen me in paintings and such, one of two thieves hanging beside Him. To your eyes, I’m part of the background. But not to Him. To Him I was worth one of His very last tortured breaths. And I was a few feet away when God died.

Albrecht Altdorfer, Crucifixion

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Remember Me... Holy Thursday 2018

Holy Thursday brings together the biggest themes in Christian faith. Service and humility. Vocation. Choosing God’s will over our own. It’s the institution of the Holy Eucharist — nothing’s bigger than that! Judas’ betrayal, Peter’s broken promise, Jesus’ agony in the garden, the washing of the disciples’ feet, the ordained priesthood, the Eucharist itself…

It’s so much. We must start somewhere. Let’s start with this: “Do this in remembrance of me.” You’ve heard those words in every single Mass you’ve ever prayed. You’ve heard them as the words of God establishing the Sacrament that makes the Church… and so they are. Have you ever heard them as the words of a man sharing a last meal with his best friends, knowing He will die tomorrow?

Simon Ushakov, Last Supper