“They will look upon him whom they have pierced.”

Due to the Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, we step away from the Sermon on the Mount and find ourselves at the foot of the Cross (Jn 19:31-37).  The Jews, concerned that sundown, and thus the Sabbath, would soon arrive, asked Pontius Pilate to make sure that Jesus and His crucified companions were dead.  Soldiers dispatched to Calvary, finding those on either side of Jesus alive, broke their legs to hasten their deaths.  Jesus was found to be dead, but to be sure, a lance was thrust through His heart.  Onlookers observed both water and blood pouring out.  Then two scripture passages are quoted to show how Jesus has just fulfilled them: “Not a bone of it will be broken” (Ex 12:46) and the one in the headline (Zech 12:10).  It is not uncommon for Protestants to chide Catholics for displaying crucifixes in their homes, schools, churches, and on their persons.  “Why do you Catholics keep Jesus on the cross?” they exclaim.  Well, we know, as they do, that it didn’t end there.  Christ is risen!  But the Paschal Mystery of His Passion, Death, and Resurrection are a strict unity that effected our redemption.  So, it seems, considering what our sins do to Jesus, and realizing that we are sinners, it is worthwhile to contemplate the King of Kings on the throne we prepared for Him.  Did not Paul say “we proclaim Christ crucified” (1 Cor 1:23) and, a little later, “I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ, and him crucified” (1 Cor 2:2).  Paul found this event worthy of meditation and proclamation and so should we.  This is true in a special way when we receive the Body (broken) and Blood (shed) in Holy Eucharist.  Let us never receive this precious gift, that came at such a cost, unworthily.

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