Sunday, 1 April 2012

Remain - The Ninth Station

The Ninth Station
Jesus Falls the Third Time

Isaiah 53:2-5
Like a sapling he grew up in front of us, like a root in arid ground. 
Without beauty, without majesty we saw him, no looks to attract our eyes; 
a thing despised and rejected by men, 
a man of sorrows and familiar with suffering,
a man to make people screen their faces;
he was despised and we took no account of him. 
And yet ours were the sufferings he bore, ours the sorrows he carried.
But we, we thought of him as someone punished, struck by God, and brought low. 
Yet, he was pierced through for our faults, crushed for our sins.
On him lies a punishment that brings us peace,
and through his wounds we are healed.

Quite commonly, we do not like to owe people favours. We are willing to help others but feel 'bad' when we need help ourselves. We do not like to feel indebted; we do not like to be of trouble. The feeling of indebtedness leads one with a conscience to the feeling of obligation - the next time this benefactor asks for help, I cannot say 'no'. I am obliged to help, obliged to return the favour. I am burdened and cannot be free to do as I wish. 

Jesus was crushed for our sins, punished to exchange for us a peace the world cannot give, wounded so that we may be healed. We are, whether we have chosen it or not, indebted to God. But is our relationship with God solely an obligation? Is our union with God only about repaying His love? 

More than just a dreadful chore, an obligation and a repayment of our debts, we are called to allow the love of God to melt our hearts, tear down our pride, move our intentions, so that His love does not burden us with an obligation to be fulfilled but that it becomes a transforming grace that turns our lives around. That through this transformation brought about by our deep appreciation of what God has done for us, we may no longer feel obliged to give and love but feel the great joy and desire to do so most willingly. 

If we do not realise what God has done for us, we cannot be appreciative. If we do not realise what eternity will be like if God had not done what He has, it is impossible for us to value the sacrifice of Jesus, the Lamb of God.

If you know that your family treats you well not because they are sincere about loving you but instead, they are merely fulfilling an obligation, how would you feel?
Do you feel even the slightest burden that you have to be a certain way because of God and your religion? E.g. You have to go for Mass every weekend, fast on days of obligation.
What have you been taking Jesus for? 
Do you desire to love Him, though imperfect our love is, genuinely, tenderly? 

Reflecting more deeply on this ninth station in the Way of the Cross, and
Knowing that Jesus chose to be crushed for your sins, will you remain with Him in genuine love? 

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