“…and all things shall be accomplished which were written by the prophets concerning the Son of Man. For he shall be delivered to the Gentiles, and shall be mocked, and scourged, and spit upon: And after they have scourged him, they will put him to death; and on the third day he shall rise again. And they understood none of these things…” Luke 18:31-34

As Christians continue to be mocked, spat upon, and even put to death, at times one can’t help but plea to the Lord to help us understand why these things must take place. Like our Lord on His Passion, children today face similar trials: born children being sold into prostitution (the number of shekels may vary), teenagers scourged (genital mutilation the preferred method), chaste adolescents mocked for their humble love of Love (rather than pridefully parading for lust), and Molech’s favourite form of sacrifice, namely, unborn children killed for the mere inconvenience of their existence.

The scandals are not only external but also internal. Our Church under the current pontificate has become like the proverbial highschool teacher trying to fit in with the teenage students in the class. The more she tries to blend in, the more she is despised. The students walk out of the classroom smirking and laughing out loud (forgive me for typing the entire acronym), but not with the teacher, rather at the teacher. They then move on to another teacher, another class, full of confidence that Toronto is the capital of Canada and getting $10 off any purchase over $200 is an awesome deal.

This is not an issue in Rome only. After spending twelve years in Catholic public schools in Ontario, our children still “understand none of these things”, not because they can’t, but because no one loved them enough to teach them. Not the parents, certainly not the teachers, nor the bishops. Just make sure you pay the $25 and hand in the little booklet on time. If a student in a Catholic highschool today was to ask “Rabbi, teach me how to pray”, how many would hear the response our Lord gave? is it hard to imagine someone telling this innocent child that saying “Our Father” is sexist, non-inclusive and don’t you know that God has no gender?! Rather try our partner or our friend instead, or better yet, start practicing mindfulness and never mind about this prayer thing. One does not need to imagine because it is reality. Our Lord had some choice words for those that put obstacles on children (Mat 18:6), and those that cause scandals (Mat 18:7)…

With all these bad news, one almost forgets that there really are Good News! It’s common to thank God it’s Friday, but do we really thank Him for Good Friday? The late Malcolm Muggeridge, an agnostic convert, wrote the book “Jesus: the man who lives”. He started the book by writing what the coming of Jesus meant (I quote the excerpt at length): “The coming of Jesus into the world is the most stupendous event in human history. I say this as a Christian, recognizing, of course, that the coming into the world of a Mohammed or a Buddha must seem, in the eyes of a Moslem or Buddhist, of equal or even greater significance, and that had I been born in Mecca or Bangkok instead of a South London suburb I might well have taken a different view. Similarly, for that matter, the coming into the world of a Karl Marx to a dedicated Marxist, or of a Mao Tse-tung to a dedicated Maoist. As it is, belonging to a civilization which began with the birth of Jesus some two thousand years ago, and reaching the conclusion – to me inescapable – that whatever is truly admirable in the achievements of the succeeding centuries, in art and literature, in music and architecture, in the quest for knowledge and in the pursuit of justice and brotherliness in human relations, derives from that same event, I cannot but see it as towering sublimely above all others. I have to add, too, that over and above this, the revelation Jesus provided, in His teaching, and in the drama of His life, death and Resurrection, of the true purpose and destination of our earthly existence, seems to me, even by comparison with other such revelations, to be of unique value and everlasting validity. The fact that I happen to have come into the world myself at a time when the revelation’s impetus in history gives every sign of being almost spent, and when Western Man is increasingly inclined to reject and despise the inheritance it has brought him, only serves to make me the more appreciative of it and awed by it.” He wrote these insights almost fifty years ago in 1975, but perhaps applies more now than during the time he wrote it.

The notion that all religions are the same and that religion is the cause of all violence, simply can’t stand when faced with Jesus’ Passion and Resurrection. The former shows Him as the victim of human sinfulness, violence and hatred not as a perpetrator of violence, while the former, makes Him the only person to ever conquer death of his own accord, and moreover, to predict exactly how long it would take. Not Plato, nor Buddha, nor Mohammed, nor Mao, nor pharos or emperors, nor kings or sultans, dictators or revolutionaries, have ever come back in the flesh. This is why St Paul repeats over and over the Resurrection in his fiery homilies, because this is not just another philosophy or set of teachings, but an event that took place in history which changed everything. “If Christ has not been raised, then our proclamation has been in vain” wrote the great saint 1Cor 15:14.

According to Pope Benedict the 16th, the lives of the saints and the beauty of our cathedrals are the greatest testimony to the truth of our faith, the fruits of the Church. Many are quick to say that there are martyrs for many different causes and religions, but I’m convinced that there’s a difference between the martyr flying a plane into a civilian building and the non-violent martyr that gets nailed to a cross upside down with slits cut in his head over a pile of human dung, simply for refusing to renounce the truth of Christ as the Son of God (Japanese martyrs).

Chesterton described accommodationist tendencies in the churches as failures to tell the triumphant story of the Gospel with clarity and authority. He once wrote to that beacon of truth, the Toronto Daily Star, that “I have no use for a Church that is not a Church militant, which cannot order battle and fall in line and march in the same direction.” This line always brings to my mind the image of Saint Pope John Paul II when he visited Poland, and with a slew of communist generals watching him closely, the same generals that had told him and the Polish people to stay away, he led thousands and thousands of Poles chanting “We want God! We want God in our books, we want God in our schools!“. What a leader, what a Pope!

At the climax of His Passion on the Cross, our Lord cried out “My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken me?”. A religion in particular, teaches that this is proof that the person on the Cross was not Jesus, but Judas. It’s the conspiracy of conspiracies. Apparently, even His mother couldn’t tell the difference! The truth of course, is that 2000 years ago there we no such things as chapters and verses, so rather than yelling out Psalm 22, He simply quoted the first verse which is how followers would be able to identify the proper Psalm. Here’s how that Psalm ends:

“I will tell of thy name to my brethren;
    in the midst of the congregation I will praise thee:
23 You who fear the Lord, praise him!
    all you sons of Jacob, glorify him,
    and stand in awe of him, all you sons of Israel!
24 For he has not despised or abhorred
    the affliction of the afflicted;
and he has not hid his face from him,
    but has heard, when he cried to him.

25 From thee comes my praise in the great congregation;
    my vows I will pay before those who fear him.
26 The afflicted[d] shall eat and be satisfied;
    those who seek him shall praise the Lord!
    May your hearts live for ever!

27 All the ends of the earth shall remember
    and turn to the Lord;
and all the families of the nations
    shall worship before him.

28 For dominion belongs to the Lord,
    and he rules over the nations.

29 Yea, to him shall all the proud of the earth bow down;
    before him shall bow all who go down to the dust,
    and he who cannot keep himself alive.
30 Posterity shall serve him;
    men shall tell of the Lord to the coming generation,
31 and proclaim his deliverance to a people yet unborn,
    that he has wrought it.”

This was our Lord announcing victory while on the Cross!! So let’s be bold and tell the good news to all the nations, because no amount of mocking, scourging and even death itself could stop our Lord from rising again… on that glorious third day!

Happy Easter brothers!

St Joseph pray for us.

Roberto Freire


If publishing article online please attribute source Band of Christian Brothers with link to original article.



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