A German artist named Matthias Grunewald (1475/1480-1528) painted a work that is in Washington, DC. It hangs in the National Gallery of Art. I can not WAIT to visit this art museum one day!
It is called The Small Crucifixion.
I've seen a picture of it only. There is no way to describe the beauty and pain of it. Like many people, I hope, I don't care what color he is portrayed. I just know it's Him and that's fine with me.
There is a dispute among Christians who decided they are against all religions. What they are saying is that they have a problem with 'organized' religion, as it is named. What they don't realize is that if they did reading of what they believed, how they came to believe it, and why, the road would lead them backwards, directly to a religion.
People tend to forget, especially anti-Semites, that Jesus was Jewish, as was his mother, his foster father, all of his cousins, friends, and all of the Apostles that he selected. The only Gentiles came along later through St. Paul's and the Apostles' conversions. He had previously under the name of Saul, persecuted harshly, anyone who professed to be a Christian, which shows what changes God can bring about.
Therefore, Jesus practiced as a Jewish person would, with all of the rites, laws, and temple rules...a religion. He grew to begin his ministry as God's son with the Holy Spirit guiding him to build his church on Earth. However, not everyone Jewish was ready to hear what he had to say. They were not ready to recognize, no matter how many miracles witnessed and love shown, that he was their long-awaited Messiah. He challenged everything they believed. He turned ideas of how God is upside down to them. We like to think that if we were there, we'd be on his side and believing but it took a great deal to commit to the thought. You could be placed imprisoned and/or killed for believing Jesus is the son of God. Many lost their lives for that kind of Faith.
To deny their unshakeable Faith in their God, their religion, resilience, and belief that caused such pain as beheadings, stabbings, ruthless killings that could have been avoided if they'd only said they didn't believe, is an insult to them AND to God, especially since there are Christians still being martyred in other countries. Would you be convicted and imprisoned if you were accused of being a Christian? We need to ask ourselves that everyday, if that is our belief.
The Church began with Jesus, by Jesus, for Jews and Gentiles alike. That's why the Mass is similar to practices you would see in a Synagogue today. It's practiced the same as thousands of years ago. People tend to take what they read in the Bible very literally. This leads to misinterpretation of the Bible. Some are taken figuratively (like believing the Eucharist is just 'symbolic') and others literally. And, yet, when it comes to a Gospel like St. Matthew's in 16:17-20, where Jesus declares Peter as the rock upon which he will build his Church, it's conveniently overlooked. To quote Fr. Roderick Petrie OFM, "History, Church History, did not begin in the sixteenth century." For over 1500 years, if you were Christian, you were Catholic. It was all that existed from the beginning of Christianity.
This reading was Jesus making Peter (Cephas-stone) the first Pope to be followed through the centuries in Apostolic succession to be his visible Servus Servorum Dei, the Servant (or Slave) of the Servants of God. I love that Pope Francis is taking that job seriously in a Holy way that I think Jesus loves! There have been good, not-so-good, and absolutely rotten Popes through the ages but what never has and never will change is the Church Tradition and the Magisterium and the Bible. None can exist without the other...like a 3-legged stool. (The history is fascinating and enlightening to read, whatever Faith you profess to be! I love delving into my own and other religions as it leads to better understanding and respect of others and, well, peace!)
So, Jesus trekked through deserts and towns, laboring and teaching until it was his time to offer himself as salvation for our original sin. Back to Adam and Eve we go!
Therefore, this is a day that we honor and relive the sacrifice made for us. He would have done the same and suffered the same if it were just you and no one else. That's Love, Man!
On this day, as from Holy Week's Magnificat reader,"Grunewald paints the landscape in a peculiar greenish-blue color as a reminder that the sun darkened and creation itself groaned at the hour of Jesus' death on the cross", witnessed only by his mother, one apostle, and Mary Magdelene, he died what was then a shameful death on a cross. Everyone else had deserted him. He had to deal with the physical pain of his wounds, of blood (an irritant) dripping from the wounds in his head into his eyes from a crown of thorns, speaking his last words in agony because each word came from his diaphragm causing him to inhale and lift which caused more pain from the stakes in his hands and feet. He had been rejected, spat upon, hit, insulted, stripped, scourged, and abandoned by his friends. He came to experience everything we do and feel in life. That's how he is so loving, kind and merciful. He knows. He rose from death triumphant but he remembers our everyday pains. He knows.
HE KNOWS. And, that's 'good' for us!
That's your Catechism for today, Guys! Next topic, Party games with string, a hot dog, and a candle. :-)
Have a blessed day and Happy Easter!