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"Sadly for Most Christians, Too, the Cross Has Become Little More Than an Anodyne, a Harmless Symbol, a Pious Decoration."

Posted on the 26 February 2015 by Brutallyhonest @Ricksteroni

Father Robert Barron has published thoughts on ISIS and how the meaning of the Cross actually taunts them:

Last week, the attention of the world was riveted to a deserted beach in northern Libya, where a group of twenty one Coptic Christians were brutally beheaded by masked operatives of the ISIS movement. In Crucifixionthe wake of the executions, ISIS released a gruesome video entitled “A Message in Blood to the Nation of the Cross.” I suppose that for the ISIS murderers the reference to “the Nation of the Cross” had little sense beyond a generic designation for Christianity. Sadly for most Christians, too, the cross has become little more than an anodyne, a harmless symbol, a pious decoration. I would like to take the awful event on that Libyan beach, as well as the ISIS message concerning it, as an occasion to reflect on the still startling distinctiveness of the cross.

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Just before their throats were cut, many of the murdered Coptic Christians could be seen mouthing the words “Jesus Christ” and “Jesus is Lord.” The first of those phrases is a rendering of the Aramaic Ieshouah Maschiach, which means “Jesus the anointed one” and which hearkens back to King David, the paradigmatic anointed figure of the Old Testament. The second phrase is one that can be traced to St. Paul’s kerygmatic cry Iesous Kyrios (Jesus Lord!), which was intended to trump a watchword of the time, Kaiser Kyrios(Caesar is Lord). In short, both declarations assert the kingship of Jesus, but what a strange kingship! The new David reigns, not from a throne, but from a cross; the one who trumps Caesar doesn’t lead an army, but embodies the divine forgiveness. 

The ISIS barbarians were actually quite right in entitling their video “A Message Written in Blood.” Up and down the centuries, tyrants and their lackeys have thought that they could wipe out the followers of Jesus through acts of violence. But as Tertullian observed long ago, the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church. And they were furthermore right in sending their message to “the Nation of the Cross.” But they should know that the cross taunts them.

An educational piece I hope all of you will read in its entirety.

H/T to Mark Shea who offers up a prayer for those most recently impacted by the evil that is ISIS:

Father, hear our prayer for their safe return.  And if it is their lot to join with your holy martyrs, grant them swift entry into heaven and that their blood may be the seed of the Church, mingled with the blood of Christ and able to convert even the hard and bitters hearts of their murderers.  Mother Mary and all the holy martyrs, pray for them and do not count this monstrous sin against their persecutors.


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