Thursday, March 12, 2015

The Bishop’s Note: March 12th, 2015 - The Last Words of Jesus #4

Bishop Eric Menees

    “And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Mark 15:34)

    In this, the fourth of the last words, Jesus cries out from the cross: “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?”  Large spikes have been hammered through his wrists and feet.  Jesus has been beaten, mocked, and has been abandoned by his disciples; save for his mother, the beloved disciple, and a couple of other women whose courage is beyond measure.

    In his moment of anguish, Jesus turns to Holy Scripture and the words of King David in Psalm 22. This is the cry of an innocent man who has suffered greatly at the hands of unjust and sinful people.  

    I don’t think we will ever fully understand what happened at that moment on the cross, nor the meaning of Jesus’ cry, but we do know that Jesus bore this pain, suffering, and abandonment for us – for you and me – so that we would not have to know the crushing weight of God’s righteous judgment for our sin.

    At the moment of that cry, Jesus knew what hell was and is.  Scripture gives us many images of hell - the place of “outer darkness,” of “weeping and gnashing of teeth;” a “fiery furnace.”  I think we can add to that list something even worse – a place utterly abandoned by God, with no hope, no love, no peace.  Jesus knew that hell for three days, so that we would not have to.

    As we continue to journey through Lent, let us ponder the weight of what Jesus bore for us.  Let us ask ourselves how we should live our lives in response to such great love.  And let us commit once again to sharing with others the Good News of Jesus Christ.  Because, as St. Paul wrote to the church in Corinth: “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”  (2 Corinthians 5:21)

    I pray you all a blessed and holy Lent!

Catechism Questions 85 - 87

85.    How do you receive the Holy Spirit?
The Scriptures teach that, through repenting and being baptized in the name of Jesus Christ, I am forgiven my sins, indwelled from then on by the Holy Spirit, given new life in Christ by the Spirit, and freed from the power of sin so that I can be filled with the Holy Spirit. (John 3:1-7; Acts 2:38; Romans 6:14; Ephesians 5:18)
86.    What is the fruit of the Holy Spirit?
The fruit of the Holy Spirit is the very character of Jesus developing in us through the work of the Holy Spirit: “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23).
87.     What are the gifts of the Holy Spirit?

The manifold gifts of the Holy Spirit include faith, healing, miracles, prophecy, discernment of spirits, other languages, the interpretation of other languages, administration, service, encouragement, giving, leadership, mercy and others. The Spirit gives these to individuals as he wills. (Romans 12:6-8, 1 Corinthians 12:7-11; 27-31; Ephesians 4:7-10)

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