Friday, April 22, 2011

And You Think You had a Bad Day? Jesus, Mary Magdalene, and the Other Mary

It's a gray, damp, chilly spring day here in central Minnesota. I'd just as soon have stayed inside, but it's Good Friday: so I've spending some time at church.

Today's not-quite-freezing drizzle, the leaden sky, and my matching mood make this not one of my better days. Even if I could, I wouldn't be doing cartwheels down the sidewalk.

It's 'one of those days.'

We all have them, I think - but I'm about as sure as I can be, that no dreary day I've experienced matches what Peter, Matthew, and all of that company went through nearly two thousand years ago.


Jesus and those closest to him had eaten the Passover meal together. My Lord made some - decidedly odd - statements then:
" 14 15 While they were eating, Jesus took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and giving it to his disciples said, 'Take and eat; this is my body.' Then he took a cup, gave thanks, 16 and gave it to them, saying, 'Drink from it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which will be shed on behalf of many for the forgiveness of sins. 17 I tell you, from now on I shall not drink this fruit of the vine until the day when I drink it with you new in the kingdom of my Father.' "
(Matthew 26:26-29)
Folks who grow up in nominally-Christian cultures may be so familiar with that passage, that the cannibalistic references don't register.

Almost two millennia back, when Jesus had that Passover meal with his associates? Folks definitely 'got it.' And didn't like what this 'great man' had to say. At all. That's not guesswork on my part, John wrote about what happened when Jesus "my flesh is true food." (John 6:55-69)

Which reminds me: I'm using mostly Matthew's Gospel in this post. That's not because I 'believe in' Matthew and not the other three Gospels. It's just that I got started with Matthew's account, and kept going in that book. Seeing divisions where none exist - or should exist - isn't anything new. (1 Corinthians 1:12) And that's another topic.

The Crucifixion: a Volunteer Mission

Jesus knew what was coming - and went to Gethsemane to pray. More specifically, to ask if he really had to go through his imminent death by torture. Again, we're maybe too familiar with the words:
"...'My Father, 25 if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; yet, not as I will, but as you will.' "

"...'My Father, if it is not possible that this cup pass without my drinking it, your will be done!' "
(Matthew 26:39, 42)
My Lord was not having a good day: and things were about to get worse.

Over the course of that night and the next morning, Jesus was condemned by the local authorities, sentenced to death - a sentence they couldn't carry out themselves, for legal and political reasons.

Jesus was hauled over to the Imperial authority - who, like so many public officials today, consulted an opinion poll. Many of the folks that day had probably been cheering Jesus into Jerusalem, not all that long before. They insisted that the Roman governor release a convicted criminal, and crucify Jesus.

Then, after a scourging that I've been told often killed the subject: Jesus was nailed up and left to die. Which he did. (Matthew 26:57-68, Matthew 27:11-26, 33-50)

Meanwhile, Peter had denied any involvement with Jesus. Three times. (Matthew 26:69-75)

Mary Magdalene and the other Mary followed the body of Jesus and "remained sitting there, facing the tomb." (Matthew 27:61)

Dead and Buried - for the Moment

Jesus was dead when his body went into that tomb. Quite sincerely dead. (John 19:33-35)

He didn't stay dead, though: that's why I went out in a cold drizzle today. And that's why I live in hope that I may be as blessed as the repentant thief. (Luke 23:42-43)

And that's yet another topic. (November 21, 2010)

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From time to time, a service that I use will display links to - odd - services and retailers.

I block a few of the more obvious dubious advertisers.

For example: psychic anything, numerology, mediums, and related practices are on the no-no list for Catholics. It has to do with the Church's stand on divination. I try to block those ads.

Sometime regrettable advertisements get through, anyway.

Bottom line? What that service displays reflects the local culture's norms, - not Catholic teaching.