08 No Cross, No Crown - Fr Anthony Charanghat

posted Mar 14, 2018, 10:01 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Mar 14, 2018, 10:02 AM ]
The Fifth Sunday of Lent this year once again proclaims the paradoxical wisdom of emptying in order to become full, of dying so that we may be raised to New Life. The Greeks asked for a miracle. Jesus says, "When I am lifted up from the earth,"– and He is speaking about being lifted up on the Cross – "I will draw everyone to myself"– the glory of the Resurrection. The true enduring miracle of Jesus is His saving Death and Resurrection. If there is no Cross, there is no crown of the glory of New Life in the Risen Lord.

In the days when Christ Jesus was in the flesh, we hear in the letter to the Hebrews, "He offered prayers and supplications with loud cries and tears to the one who was able to save Him from death." The words refer to Jesus' anguished prayer in the garden of Gethsemane the night before He died.

Jesus' humanity was not a mask. It was real. He really experienced what we experience. He suffered as we suffer. Facing the agony of crucifixion, Jesus felt the intense anguish that any one of us would feel in such a desperate situation And so, with all the fervour of which He was capable, Jesus prays for deliverance from death. Immediately, however, He goes beyond this prayer to ask that He not be delivered from death, should acceptance of death be the means of glorifying His heavenly Father's name.

John records Jesus' prayer at the Last Supper in the Upper Room. "I am troubled now. Yet what should I say? 'Father, save me from this hour'? But it was for this that I came to this hour. Father, glorify your name." Was Jesus' prayer heard? Isn't the Cross the proof that His prayer was not heard—or at least not granted? So it would seem. In reality, however, the Cross is not the place of Jesus' defeat, but of His ultimate triumph.

Jesus confessed His faith in this triumph when He said: "Now the ruler of this world will be driven out." In this passage, however, Jesus professes His faith that Satan's triumph would be an illusion. The empty tomb of Easter shows that the victor in that cosmic conflict between good and evil was not 'the ruler of this world', but Jesus Christ. To learn the deepest meaning of our Christian faith, we must take our stand beneath Jesus' Cross, and contemplate in silent awe and reverent love the One who hangs there.