Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The Way of the Cross - 12th Station


John 19:28-34
After this, Jesus knew that everything had now been completed and, so that the scripture should be completely fulfilled, he said: ‘I Thirst’. A jar full of sour wine stood there; so putting a sponge soaked in the wine on a hyssop stick, they held it up to his mouth. After Jesus had taken the wine he said, ‘It is fulfilled’; and bowing his head he gave up his spirit.

It was the Day of Preparation, and to avoid the bodies remaining on the cross during the Sabbath – since that Sabbath was a day of special solemnity – the Jews asked Pilate to have the legs broken and the bodies taken away. Consequently the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first man who had been crucified with him and then the other. When they came to Jesus, they saw he was already dead, and so instead of breaking his legs one of the soldiers pierced his side with a lance; and immediately there came out blood and water.

John 7: 37-38
Jesus stood and cried out: “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me! Let anyone who believes in me come and drink! As Scripture says: ‘From his heart shall flow streams of living water’.”

As he hangs there suspended between heaven and earth all of human sin flows to him. His open arms are an invitation to human wickedness and a sign of his vulnerability. And the sin which has perverted the human heart will flow ferociously out against him. All the depravity which the human heart is capable of will flow into his heart. The river of sin seems endless, how is it possible that one man could embrace it all. But that river of sin flows into the endless ocean of merciful love that has gathered in his Divine Heart. Sin will exhaust itself as it rages against love. The more it raises its voice to scream ‘no’ the more the Saviour will quietly repeat his ‘yes’. And as the fresh water of a river flowing into the sea becomes lost in the salty deeps so the foulness of our most vile sins disappears when it is conquered by infinite love. Our sins fall upon him and his blood falls upon us. The full measure of our sins draws forth the full measure of his life’s-blood. From our wounds flow waves of death and destruction - the foul-smelling rot of sin. From his wounds flow waves of the cleansing Blood of the Lamb without blemish, the medicinal water that flows from the tree of life, from the side of the temple, which is his body; the sweet-smelling ‘yes’ offered to the Father from a truly human heart – the Divine Heart of his Son.

With each breath he takes the stench of sin and death fill his soul so that the author of life itself, moves ever closer to death. And when the last wave of the last sin ever to be committed breaks upon the shore of his suffering and he breathes deeply the stench of that sin too, he lowers his head in death, breathing out the Holy Spirit over those raging waters. “Quiet now, be still.”

Lord, by your wounds we are healed, and so we press our open wounds to yours that we may be healed.

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