This is the end of the long walk to Calvary. Jesus has arrived at the place where He is to be killed and the preparations for that death are now to take place. The first of these is to strip Him naked so that He will hang on the cross without any dignity, by human standards. Exposed as the fraud and subversive pain in the backside that He was seen as being. The real journey here though did not start in Pilate's court, but over the face of the waters in the beginning. The Spirit of God moved over the face of the deep, bringing life and light to the world, this same Spirit, this same indivisible God, was the word that was in the beginning. It was there at the creation, before all times and seasons were, the Spirit was and always shall be. The Spirit was made flesh, indivisible from Father and Son and dwelt amongst us. This incarnation, God amongst us had life as one of us and as the Godhead and was the consummation of the word of God, the promise of immortality from the first breath on the face of the deep. He lived amongst us and showed us how to live in Him and now, before He could consummate His life amongst us, He had to be stripped naked before the final torture began. He was to leave the world as He entered it, naked, full of grace and truth and ready to fulfill this great destiny.
This is where He changes from Jeus son of Joseph, the troublemaker, to what He promised at the last supper. This is where He becomes, visibly and clearly, the naked sacrificial Lamb of God, who is to take away the sins of the world. He is becoming clearly the Word made Flesh, and although the storm clouds are gathering and the gates of Heaven are surely straining at the seams, as the banners of darkness ready themselves for a final assault on Him, we know that the light of the world is being prepared for His most glorious shining. The darkness, even here, on the hill at the end of time, as the clouds gather and the veil between eternity and us almost rips, even here, the darkness is not able to master the light. The Lamb of God is stripped and laid down and we, spiritually here on the holy mountain, we also must change here. This is where we all are stripped down to our most elemental figure, that of body, soul, salvation and damnation. This is where He chose the sacrificial path of life, in obedience to his own commandment to hold Love paramount. This is where we must make that decision as well, or we may as well turn back, walk down the hill, go into the tavern and sit forever at the end of the bar, a perpetual observer and malcontent.
V. They gave me gall to eat.
R. And when I was thirsty they gave me vinegar to drink.
Let us Pray.
Cut off from us, O lord, the old man with his manners and actions : and put on us the new man, who is created according to God in justice and in holiness of truth; through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Of your charity, pray for the soulsof Ena Mann and Albert Mann.