Society Magazine

"This is the Earth That Held the Cross."

Posted on the 18 April 2014 by Brutallyhonest @Ricksteroni

Deacon Greg's homily for Good Friday is an excellent read:

About 15 years ago, my wife and I made a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. There, in the Old City of Jerusalem, we walked the Via Dolorosa, the Way of the Cross, passing shops and souvenir vendors selling cards and olive wood crosses.  We prayed at the stations, and we encountered many of the sites mentioned in this gospel reading.

But one site in particular stands out in my memory. It is the Church of the Holy Sepulcher—the site of CalvaryChrist’s passion, death and resurrection.

It is ancient, and hard to navigate. Once you enter, your guide leads you to a dark and smoky chapel, where candles burn and monks pray and incense fills the air. You approach a small place beneath a marble altar, a spot only a few inches wide. You bend down and see a dark hole in the stone floor. Nervously, fearfully you crouch down, reach your hand into the opening and touch a piece of rock—rock worn smooth by almost 20 centuries of hands groping in the dark.  The hands of peasants and kings, of saints and servants, all drawn to this very church to do what you are about to do.

And in that moment, you touch one of the most important places in all of human history.

This is the earth that held the cross.

You are touching Calvary.

And for just a moment, the centuries fall away. Here is where the blood fell and women wept. There, just a few inches away, is where Mary stood watch, with John at her side. Nearby were all the others: the centurion, the thief, the guards. Here is where Christ cried out, “I thirst.” Here is where he whispered, “It is finished.” You’re only steps away from where the earth cracked open.

You withdraw your hand from the dark opening and stagger to your feet. The sensation is disorienting. You finally understand that here, at this obscure place, is where everything changed.

Most historians and archeologists agree that this spot is, in fact, the actual site of the crucifixion. To visit Calvary today is to encounter the place where history’s greatest sacrifice was offered—where the Lamb of God was slaughtered, where the Prince of Peace stretched out his arms for the salvation of the world.

This day, in this church, we strive to do what pilgrims have done in Jerusalem for generations: We seek to connect with the mystery of the Passion—this great and unparalleled act of love.

And yes: we seek, somehow, to touch Calvary. We experience it anew. We hear once more the account of Christ’s passion and death. We realize how much he gave, and why.

But if we are honest, we realize something else: that Calvary is not just one place, at one moment in time.

Do read the rest at the good Deacon's place.  You'll be filled.

If that doesn't do it, then go partake of Tod Worner's mystical Good Friday vision.

And if that's not enough, then read a relevant excerpt from G. K. Chesterton's Everlasting Man posted at Mark Shea's blog.  It should make you think.

Thank God it's Friday... Good Friday.

Amen.


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