Saturday 23 March 2013

The stones cry out

So many mentions of stones in the readings of these days. The other day, "they took up stones to stone him." And tomorrow, Jesus himself to the Pharisees who want him to make the crowds shut up: "If these keep quiet, the very stones will cry out." The stones of Jerusalem and of the Holy Land do still cry out. Like the stones of Taibeh - Ephraim, where in today's gospel reading Jesus went with his disciples to get away from those wanting to kill him, and to prepare - to face the passion, and the death. Sometimes we are Catholic-Monophysites, thinking that Jesus is more divine than human, that he knew everything in detail beforehand, and so on. But the gospels are clear, and the dogmas are clear: truly God, but also truly and fully human. The picture of the crucifixion - a modern one - in my Claretian gospel diary struck me particularly forcefully. Crucifixion is shameful, painful, degrading. There is no honour left, no dignity, no quarter. That is how Jesus died. With no honour, no dignity, no glory. That is the prospect of the passion that he contemplates in his retreat at Ephraim. That is what he faces in the Garden.

He faced it: though he was in the form of God, he did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave. And being found in human form, he became humbler still, becoming obedient unto death.

The glory comes from death. The death is the glory. The glory of a being who is fully and completely what he is called to be, what he is: son, Son, of the Father. Totally obedient. The eternal Yes of the Father, to the Father.

And the stones themselves still cry out. They have been invested with the splendour of his glory. 

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