Tag Archives: lent

The meaning of Christ’s temptation

St. Augustine reflects on Mark 1:12-15, today’s gospel in the Novus Ordo:

“Jesus made us one with him when he chose to be tempted by Satan. We’ve heard in the gospel how the Lord Jesus Christ was tempted by the devil in the desert. Certainly Christ was tempted by the devil. In Christ you were tempted, for Christ received his flesh from your nature, but by his own power gained salvation for you; he suffered death in your nature, but by his own power gained life for you; he suffered insults in your nature, but by his own power gained glory for you; therefore, he suffered temptation in your nature, but by his own power gained victory for you.”

Holy Saturday, when the earth trembles and is silent

Jesus bringing Adam and Eve outJesus has gone to search for our first parent, as for a lost sheep. “Awake, O sleeper, and rise from the dead, and Christ will give you light!”

An ancient homily for Holy Saturday: “Something strange is happening – there is a great silence on earth today, a great silence and stillness. The whole earth keeps silence because the King is asleep. The earth trembled and is still because God has fallen asleep in the flesh and he has raised up all who have slept ever since the world began. God has died in the flesh and hell trembles with fear…”

Good Friday

Christ of Saint John of the Cross - Salvador DalìI know a priest who tells me that Good Friday is a day for us who to gaze upon the crucifixion as an attraction to self-consummation. Moreover, it is a day of panic at the threat of annihilation. The Cross of Jesus is a most power reality. It is not a decoration.
“Now it is Holy Week. On Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday, Easter, in these four days if you go inside without simply looking Christ in the face, but rather preoccupied about your sins or about perfection or about things to meditate on, you come out tired and pick up where you left off. Looking Christ in the face, instead, you change. But to change, you must truly look Him in the face, with the desire for good, the desire for truth:  ‘I am capable of all things, Lord, if I am with you who are my strength.’ It is a You that dominates, not things to respect.”

(Fr. Giussani Is It Possible to Live This Way? Vol 2, Hope)




Holy Thursday

Holy Thursday is a day of recognition of what is really at stake: the self-gift of Love given to the world . It is a  day of God’s promise of being present to us until the end of human time. Holy Thursday is a day in which a body is given to the Church: the Body of the Savior– the Body given to us is given to us in an ultimate way. This is eucharistic.

I suspect if we are honest with ourselves during the year we would admit that we are persons in need, persons who live with a sensibility of longing. There is a certain anguish over our limitations and the capacity of others to receive.

Wednesday of Holy Week: Jesus at Bethany

at BethanyToday, the Latin Church has the gospel of Judas betraying Jesus (see previous post today) and the Byzantine Church will chant the story of Jesus being anointed at Bethany. For me, this is another aspect of the Mystery of the Incarnation.

Another theological way of discerning the meaning of today’s witness before the Lord is that the Church is asking us to attend anew to the interior life where we are asked to have a singularity in the way we live God’s grace: how well have we lived our vocation? The converse to this aspect of interiority is that you and I have a certain terror in being the only one responsible for persons and works. This flip side can lead us to the rejection of life in the Garden of Eden (paradise).

The Judas event and the Lord’s anointing at Bethany have different thrusts, but the emphasis is the same: love breaks the chain of sin and division. Perfect Love does so in supreme way in drawing our heart to a new level of awareness.

This poetic text sets the stage for us.

O Lord, the woman who had fallen into a multitude of sins,
recognized Your divinity and joined the ranks of the myrrh-bearings.
Before Your burial, she offers You myrrh with her tears.
“Alas,” she says, “the stinging night of pleasure seizes me;
the dark and moonless love of sin grasps me.
Accept the stream of my tears and my copious weeping,
for You make the waters fall from the clouds into the sea.
Incline Your ear to the cry of my heart,
for You incline the heavens in Your ineffable condescension.
Allow me to kiss Your most pure feet,
drying them with the locks of my hair;
for these are the feet that Eve heard in Paradise,
and, trembling at Their approach, she hid herself.
O Lord, who can search out the number of my sins?
Who shall search the depth of Your judgments,
O God our Redeemer and the Savior of our souls?
In Your infinite love, do not despise Your servant.”

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.
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