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31 At that time some Pharisees came to Jesus and said to him, “Leave this place and go somewhere else. Herod wants to kill you.”
32 He replied, “Go tell that fox, ‘I will keep on driving out demons and healing people today and tomorrow, and on the third day I will reach my goal.’ 33 In any case, I must press on today and tomorrow and the next day—for surely no prophet can die outside Jerusalem!
Luke 13:31-33 (NIV)
Are you the Fox; are you the one trying to kill Jesus? Harsh question, but one that must be asked. The answer, I would venture to guess would be the same for all of us, “Yes, at times, I am the fox, yes at times I do try to kill Jesus.” Our actions or even inactions are how; our sins and lost opportunities are what we use as our weapons. When we sin, we are piercing the side of Jesus, pounding the nail into his precious hands and applying the crown of thorns upon His head. No action goes unfelt by Him who gave everything no sin goes unnoticed.
It sounds a little harsh to say that we are trying to kill him, but in truth, we already have, Jesus died for our sins, our sins of yesterday, the day before and the sins of today and what lay ahead. His death upon the cross was not just a moment in time, it was time itself, and it shattered time and placed His suffering, death and resurrection outside of time. His passion is not repeated with each sin, because it is happening now, in the moment and all moments, because no moment exists outside of the passion.
As Catholics we celebrate the passion at each Holy Mass we attend, the last supper, were Jesus is seated with His friends, the agony of the Garden, were Jesus weeps tears of blood for our inequities and the scourging, were Jesus is beaten and bloodied for our sake. Moreover, the death upon the cross, the cross of humanity, the cross of humility the cross of forgiveness, we witness this at each and every Mass. The resurrection of our Lord and the promise of life everlasting is celebrated at the altar of Love, the altar of Sacrifice, all this is our privilege to witness and partake in. The Holy Eucharist is not a representation or a reenactment; it is the Passion, the one and only Passion of our Lord. Jesus is not re-crucified over and over again, He died for our sins once, and we celebrate it and take part in it at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.
So no, I do not think saying we are like the Fox, out to kill Jesus, is too harsh. It is our sins that killed Him, and it is His love for us, in the here and now, that raised Him from the dead and offers us the promise of eternal life. Nevertheless, that eternal life comes with a price, His life and our cooperation.
We are called to cooperate with Jesus, to allow the Holy Spirit to work within us and through us. Our works and our faith are the price we pay for our sins. Yes, I know Jesus paid the price, His death, and yes, I know that our actions can never pay that price. Yes, I know that some do not agree with works as a part of salvation, that faith alone get you into heaven. All I can say to that is, good luck, for faith without works is dead. That is for another blog. This blog is asking you, are you the Fox?
Are not our sins the nails that pierced the Lords skin and held him tight to the cross of iniquity? Is it not our actions, murder, lies and deceits that bloodied His body? Are we not culpable for His persecution? Anyone who says no is either a liar or the devil, the Fox that pursued our Lord, persecuted and Tortured Him and put His innocent life to death. We are the solders that marched him to Pontius Pilate; we are the centurions that delivered Him to Herod for humiliation. We are Simeon, who reluctantly took up His cross, and yes, we are the ones who pounded the nails in to our Lord.
Lent offers us a time to reflect upon that, to look at our lives and see the moments in time when we pounded that hammer of sin upon the nail of humanity, piercing the skin of love. Lent offers us the opportunity to revisit the passion of our Lord is a special way, and look upon His face as he takes His last breath, and offers up His spirit for our sake, the sake of a fallen creation. Spend some time with our Lord as He walks His way through the passion narrative, read Bible stories and let yourself be seen in them, become one of the many that crowded the streets as Jesus walked to His death. Place yourself at Peter’s side when he denies our Lord and recall the times you denied Jesus for your own sake. Be upon that hill and fell the grief of Our Lady as she watches he son, Our Lord, put to death and hear the words of Jesus within your heart, when he says “Forgive them, they know not what they do” for those word were spoken to you. Experience the moment of death, when the sky turned black and the tears of God fell upon the earth. Feel the shame of the Centurion as he came to realize what he has done and feel the joy when his heart is converted.
Lent is a time of reflection, a time to look back over your life and see it through the eyes of Christ. The Church offers us this Holy Session as a time of preparation and purification before the Holy Session of Easter. Use it, allow the graces of Lent to work within you and face your past. See the times that you, like Herod, are the Fox chasing after Jesus to kill him. However, Lent is also the time that you allow Jesus to reach His goal, the goal of driving out demons and healing people. Allow Him to heal you this Lent, allow Him to drive out your demons. He can only do this, if you are open to Him, so open yourself to Jesus this Lent and let His sacred hands to heal your soul, let the blood of Christ wash away your sins and renew your soul.
God Bless & Happy Lent