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Come Down from the Cross and We Will Believe. A Meditation on “Crucial” Decision by Jesus
Archdiocese of Washington ^ | 4/17/2014 | Msgr. Charles Pope

Posted on 04/18/2014 2:17:06 AM PDT by markomalley

One of the most remarkable aspects of the crucifixion of Jesus is his humble reserve. As God he has all power to end his suffering and humiliation in an instant. He had already reminded Peter, Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels? But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way?”(Matt26:52-54)

And now as he hung on the Cross, Satan and the crowds give him one last and final temptation, the call  to come down from the Cross:

Those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads and saying, “You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself! Come down from the cross, if you are the Son of God!” In the same way the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders mocked him. “He saved others,” they said, “but he can’t save himself! He’s the king of Israel! Let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him. He trusts in God. Let God rescue him now if he wants him, for he said, ‘I am the Son of God.’?” In the same way the rebels who were crucified with him also heaped insults on him. (Matt 27:39-44)

The temptation is to pride and power, to anything but the Cross. They seem to taunt him saying, “Since God is powerful, if you were God, you would have the power to come down and not be overpowered by your enemy.

The temptation is very crafty and very worldly. To the worldly minded the demand makes sense. In effect, if it is faith you want, you can have it from me if you will come down from the cross. Then I will be impressed, and then I will believe. In effect the tempters want to be saved on their own terms.

Why does Jesus stay on the Cross? Three reasons, at least:

1. Humility – Jesus is out to overcome Satan. In the world, we seek to overpower our foes. Does it work? No, usually the cycle of violence just continues and gets worse. We think, If I can just yell louder, outwit my opponent, or outgun him, I win the day. Yes, but there is more to life than a day. And the next day your opponent returns with louder and more witty arguments and bigger guns. The cycle of violence just continues. It is endless power struggle.

But as was once said,  Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hatred cannot drive our hatred, only love can do that. And, here at the cross, I would add, Pride cannot drive out pride, only humility can do that.

And therefore, though coaxed by the crowd and Satan into power struggle, the Lord chooses the only weapon truly effective against Pride, that is, humility. It is like kryptonite to the Devil.

To our eyes it seems the Lord is defeated. But in his humility the Lord is doing more damage to Satan than we could ever imagine. The Lord stays on the cross to defeat Satan’s pride by profound humility. He does this despite Satan’s desperate attempts to engage his pride, and summon him to a power struggle.

2. Obedience – It was disobedience that got us into trouble. It will be obedience that restores us. Adam said, “No.” Jesus, the New Adam, says “Yes.” It is not essentially the suffering of Jesus that saves us, it is his obedience, and the suffering is part of that obedience.

Jesus decide to obey his Father, no matter the cost. Isaiah says of Jesus, “He suffered because he willed it.” (Is 53:7)  St. Thomas says that if Jesus had suffered and gone to the cross, but not willed it, we would not be saved. Jesus himself said, “No one takes my life from me, I lay it down freely. (Jn 10:18)  Cassian says, “We are saved by the human decision of a divine person.”

Jesus went to the cross and decided to stay on the cross in obedience. And it is by his obedience, his will to obey and save us that we are saved.

3. To save me – At a more personal level, we can also see, based on what has already been said, that Jesus decided to stay on the cross to save me. If he had come down, I would not be saved. You would not be saved. We might have been impressed, we might have even had a kind of faith. But it would not be a saving faith.

Pure and simple Jesus decided to stay on the cross and to endure mockery, shame, pain and death, to save a poor sinner like me. And old gospel song says,

When Jesus hung on Calvary, people came from miles to see
They said, If you be the Christ, come down and save your life
But Jesus, sweet Jesus, never answered them
For He knew that Satan was tempting
If He had come down from the cross, my soul would still be lost
If He had come down from the cross, my soul would still be lost

He would not come down from the cross just to save himself
He decided to die just to save me

TOPICS: Catholic
KEYWORDS: msgrcharlespope

1 posted on 04/18/2014 2:17:06 AM PDT by markomalley
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To: Biggirl; ConorMacNessa; Faith65; GreyFriar; Heart-Rest; Mercat; Mrs. Don-o; Nervous Tick; ...

Msgr Pope ping

2 posted on 04/18/2014 2:18:17 AM PDT by markomalley (Nothing emboldens the wicked so greatly as the lack of courage on the part of the good -- Leo XIII)
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To: markomalley; Tax-chick; GregB; Berlin_Freeper; SumProVita; narses; bboop; SevenofNine; ...


3 posted on 04/18/2014 3:52:03 AM PDT by NYer ("You are a puff of smoke that appears briefly and then disappears." James 4:14)
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To: markomalley

As both a college basketball fan, as well as a UConn Huskies fan, both men and women’s teams had won this year’s championships, I reflect that the very first Easter Triduum was 4 days of WINNING the GREATEST CHAMPIONSHIP FOR ALL TIME against Satan, the flesh, and the world by Jesus on the Cross.

4 posted on 04/18/2014 5:21:37 AM PDT by Biggirl (“Go, do not be afraid, and serve”-Pope Francis)
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To: markomalley

Why does Jesus stay on the Cross?
1. Humility
2. Obedience
3. To save me

Thank you, dear Jesus, for dying for my sins.

5 posted on 04/18/2014 7:27:32 AM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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