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    Fr. Joseph Jenkins

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A Cold Wind Blows Against the Cross

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The Cross of Jesus literally marks the spot.  It pierces the icy heart of a fallen creation. Our Lord enacts his claim upon the world with two pieces of wood.  Nothing would ever again be the same.  However, not everyone would be saved.  God come down from heaven had infinite power; but the price of freedom was that this deity would become small and vulnerable.  He would compress himself into the finite.  The mysteries of sin and death had been conquered but not undone.  During the time of unraveling there would still be iniquity, sickness and suffering.  The world’s harmony would remain broken, at least until the day of final consummation.

All would one day be light except for one very tiny corner, a crack where the irreformable would hide as specks in the shadow.  Life is eternal.  Ours is not a deity who forgets or annihilates his creation.  The blessed see God and know his joy.  The damned cower blind in the darkness and suffer hell-fire.

Our Lord came with a message about God’s love and the brotherhood of man.  The angels once sang songs to the newborn Prince of Peace. A promise of peace was extended to men of good will.  But this did not mean that all men who came to the manger would be good.  Indeed, it would be even less so when men came to Calvary.  Christ would die for sinners.  But would sinners live for Christ?  We have all played the part of betrayer, some like Peter who would reconcile and others like Judas who would despair.

After a few generations the Roman Empire became Christian.  But was the empire truly converted or was it the faith that was compromised?  The floodgates opened and the Church blossomed.  However, the world did not suddenly become a heaven on earth.  Some teachings were thrown aside, especially those about putting away the sword, about loving our enemies and about forgiving those who hurt us.  Hypocrisy was frequently the poison to the potion of faith.

I suspect our Lord shivered on the Cross, knowing the cold indifference and duplicity of men who would claim to belong to him.  All in his name, but really due to the hardness of hearts, many would be spurned, tortured and murdered as heretics, apostates and infidels.  Victims would be burned at the stake and heads chopped off.  Crusades would be fought against those who refused to accept Christ and wars enacted against those Christians who broke away from Holy Mother Church.  That cold wind that blew upon Golgotha must have been a terrible wind, indeed.  Naked to the cold, our Lord would die, not for the innocent, but for the guilty.

The true face of the Church would not show itself with earthly kings and the sword; rather, it would emerge in the witness of unarmed missionaries and those risking their own wellbeing in caring for the sick and suffering.  The model of Christ is not that of a king dressed in splendor but one attired in work clothes.  Even these would be reduced to rags as he is the king who lays down his life for his subjects.  He makes himself the slave of all and summons his followers, especially the one called ROCK to be the servant of the servants of God.

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