Friday, March 30, 2012

Via Dolarosa

The streets have an energy about them this morning, more than usual. Ahh, now I see why. The Romans are at it again, leading some criminals to the hill of execution outside the city gates. Such a disgusting form of punishment and only for the lowliest of men. Here comes one of these perverts, I wonder what he has done, probably some horrific crime or why would they be killing him.... he looks disgusting.

I turn my eyes away from the black and blue and bloodied body . . . and yet something catches my eye - His eyes - and they hold mine for a mere moment.  What I see surprises me; I don't see hate and the depravity I expect; I see love and compassion . . . for ME! Odd, very odd - something like compassion for Him stirs in my heart and  immediately I feel guilty. Why would I feel that for a depraved criminal? But something about Him seems not criminal; something is very different about this man.

I am drawn to follow the crowd now that is followoing Him. I now notice he is flanked not only by the Roman soldiers but by the religious priests as well. Are they for Him, walking with Him to support Him in His torturous death? No, they seem gleeful that he is going to be cursed, bung on a tree. But why? Why would they involve themselves with this bloodied criminal?

I ask a woman next to me who seems distraught with sorrow. "Who is this cirminal? What evil has he done that he is being crucified?" "No evil," she replies, "only good. The priests are jealous because he has brought life to so many, healed the sick, given sight to the blind, even raised the dead to life!"

Now I recognize this disfigured man. He is the one who I heard speak truth on that mountain by the sea of Galilee! I can hardly believe what I am seeing! How can this be? Why? Why would anyone want to hurt this gentle man? How could anyone find anything cruel in him, especially anything deserving of such a death?  I continue to follow the procession of mostly women to the hill of execution, not sure what is drawing me on. Maybe I'm hoping for a possible last minute reprieve, but knowing that the impossible will never happen.

Why? Why God? Why do You allow such bad things to happen to such a good, holy man? I don't understand You! How could you allow such an evil thing to happen????

Saturday, March 17, 2012

I am Barabbas, sinner extraordinaire! Murderer, thief, all that is disgusting next to Jesus. And for me, FOR ME, He died . .  not only died but endured horrific torture, for one such as me, so I could be released from death, from the sentence of condemnation and blackness and hellfire forever. Unbelievable.

Why? Why would i make that same choice, to BE Barabbas when I could be like Jesus? Incomprehensible and inexplicable - truly!

What great sacrifice, what great love for me, the chief of sinners.

Oh what great love that produces in my heart for You, Jesus . . . .

Sunday, March 11, 2012


Psalm 19:14
Let all that I say and every thought in my heart be pure and holy, something I would think or say in front of You, Jesus.

You are my firm foundation on which I stand and the One who bought me out of slavery and freed me to live free. May I not wander back to the familiar chains of bondage. O Jesus, forgive me for the many times since I've been your disciple that I have walked away from You, abandoned You in search of my own well-being . . . not realizing what I was giving up to gain only chaff that blows away in the wind. Thank You that You loved me first and have never given up on me, no matter what! Enable me to never give up on those I love, no matter what their decisions because You never gave up on me. May I always hope and pray for the best, knowing that one day all will be made right.

Friday, March 02, 2012

I'm doing the "Retreat in Daily Life" where, among other things, we linger over a portion of scripture a day. This scripture was Luke 5:1-11 where Jesus asks Peter to go back out fishing with Him after a night of catching nothing. I've never really "gotten" this scripture before so I decided to do an Ignatian exercise with it where you put yourself in the story as one of the characters. I decided to be Peter. Here's what I wrote:
There's that man again, standing on the shore. Whenever he shows up, people flock to him - he's probably a religious fanatic who is scamming the people out of their money. I better steer clear of him! Don't want to get involved or I might just have to punch his lights out! Shysters like that make me furious . . .

So while I'm minding my own business, off cleaning my nets after a long, hard nights work which only produced an old boot and some other useless garbage but no fish, I come back and this guy is actually sitting in my boat! Then he asks me if I'll row him out for a little fishing expedition! The nerve . . .not sure why i'm going to humor him but why not? This could be my opportunity to put him in his place . . .

Next thing I know, the fish are actually jumping INTO my net! I can hardly believe my eyes. An hour ago, I would have sworn there was not a fish to be found in all of this lake and now my boat is sinking, it has so many. I even had to call my partners to row out because my boat couldn't contain all the fish we caught, er, that jumped in my boat. Clearly this is a supernatural act . . . Then it dawns on me, this "holy man" in my boat, he must really BE a true holy man.

I fall to my knees before him. . . I'm overwhelmed by how I judged him as a fake . . . I'm not even sure who he is,  but he is the real deal, that's for sure. Then I speak. " Teacher . . .Master, forgive me. I am not worthy to even be in this boat with You. Compared to You, I am the scum of the earth."

His reply surprises me.  "No worries! You think we caught a lot of fish just now? I have bigger fish for you to fry than this! Stick with me and soon you'll be catching souls, not fish!"

This man is more than I expected, and consequently, I did the unexpected . . .I left my boats, my nets, even the fish right there on the beach and followed Him. I had to find out more about this man. . . .His name is Jesus.

Okay, now I see. Seeing through Peter's eyes helps me see through new eyes how You impacted people and especially this one rash macho man. I want to be impacted by You in such a rash way - to leave all that I think brings me life and follow You Jesus, to put You absolutely first in my life. Thank You for the invitation to do so. You've chosen me as one of Your own, just like You chose Peter.... so I can impact others for You, what a privilege!