Friday, March 10, 2017

Lenten Retreat for Pope Francis and Curia; Jesus on the Cross

Lenten Retreat: Jesus on the Cross, Misunderstood
Seventh Meditation of Father Michelini
© L'Osservatore Romano
“Jesus’ ultimate torture” is not to be understood, “even on the cross,” said Father Giulio Michelini, before the Pope and the Roman Curia. In his seventh meditation of the Lenten Retreat at Ariccia, on March 9, 2017, and he invited to fight against misunderstanding.
On the eve of the conclusion of the Retreat, reported Vatican Radio in Italian, the Franciscan preacher meditated on the episode of the Crucifixion in Matthew’s Gospel. He assured that the Messiah’s death was a “real” death. In fact, the details of the Gospel are too “troublesome” to be invented.
Thus the Father’s silence is “too scandalous” to be imagined: “Jesus calls the Father with a cry, but the Father is silent.” Father Michelini stressed “the sense of abandonment that Jesus felt on the Cross” – “My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me” – accentuated by the incomprehension “of those witnessing the bloody spectacle.”
Jesus’ “ultimate torture” was not to be understood “even on the Cross,” he said. “The Cross explains everything” but Jesus can do only one thing: entrust Himself to the Spirit.”
The Franciscan invited to an examination of conscience on the moments when “we do not want to understand” others, because of “closures” or because of pride. It is about improving communication by growing “in humility” and by being aware of “the presence of God” in “the ordinary character of the everyday” or in “the other’s look.”
Father Michelini also paused on the “Centurion’s spear,” paralleling it with the Centurion of Capernaum, one of whose servants Jesus cured: “he was killed precisely by the spear of a soldier. Jesus turned the other cheek to the soldiers, as He had taught in His address on the mountain: to the Centurion of Capernaum He offered His availability. Now, from the Cross, He can but tender His side from which the water and blood gushed forth for the forgiveness of sins.”
Finally, the preacher recalled the women present at the scene of the Crucifixion. Among others, Mary, “mother of James and Joseph” who for some is the “Mother of the Lord”: “Someone has written – and it is an interesting theory – that Mary, Jesus’ Mother, is not simply she, and neither is Jesus simply the Son of Mary. As in John’s Gospel, Mary will no longer be simply the Mother of Jesus but the Mother of the beloved disciple and, consequently, the Mother of the Church.”

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