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Posted by Paul Edwards (Fr. Paul) on Mar 22, 2012 | Comments (0)


Lent VI: The Seven Last Words of Jesus on the Cross

Father forgive them, for they know not what they do. Luke 23:34

Forgiveness is not blaming others for our pain.  As long as we blame others, they own us. We cannot give God something that is not ours. Once we realize our thoughts create our feelings, we can put ourselves in His Presence.

What difference does it make in your life if you spiritually understand being in or out of the Presence?

Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise. Luke 23:43

The word "paradise" is the same word as "garden", like in Eden.  Adam and Eve were separated from the Garden but not as punishment.  Remember, there were two trees in the garden. One Tree was the knowledge of good and evil. The other was the Tree of life.  If they would break the law and eat of the Tree of Knowledge, the Tree of Life would be next. Hell would be living eternally with the judgment that comes from such knowledge that only God has. Now, on the cross our separation from God is reconciled.

What difference does it make if you spiritually understand the difference between being in the Presence of the Love of God and being out and filled with Judgment and condemnation?

Woman, behold your son: behold your mother. John 19:26‑27

Jesus gave His mother to John and John was given to his mother.  St Paul, in his early ministry, met with Peter, James the brother of Jesus, and John.  James was a Pharisee Christian who was against much of Paul's grace teaching that gentiles did not have to be circumcised.  Peter and Paul had it out over Peter not eating with gentiles when James' party came to check him out. Then there was the beloved John who became Paul's mentor. Luke became a Christian and a beloved disciple for Paul. Later, John was exiled to Patmos.  Paul was imprisoned in Rome.  It was Luke who took Mary in at Ephesus. There, he wrote the Gospel of Luke using her witness of the Life of Jesus from the beginning.

Reread the birth narratives, not as something Luke wrote, but what Mary experienced.

My God, My God, why have you forsaken me. Matthew 27:46; Mark 15:34

This was the moment of grace: when Jesus became Sin like us, separated from God. We became like Him: loved by God as much as God loved Him, whether He was in or out of Sin and separation.

What difference does it make if you believe sin is an immoral act that you have to overcome to be Present with God

Or

When you are in the Presence of God you, are no longer separated and you have the power to overcome your sins?

I thirst. John 19:28

They immediately put a sponge on a hyssop to His lips. The blood of the lamb at the first Passover was put on the two sides and the door post of the homes with hyssop. The people were saved by the blood of the lamb. We are saved by the blood of the Lord. Blood means the life. It is Jesus' Life, Death and Resurrection that is the grace of God that saves us.

Do we do good works to be saved, or do we do good works because we are saved?

It is finished. John 19:30

What was finished?  He still had to be buried, rise from the grave, ascend into Heaven, and send the Holy Spirit of Pentecost. There was still much to do. How could it be finished? The great American Folk Philosopher, Yogi Berra once said, "It ain't over 'til it's over."  In 1916, Georgia Tech played Cumberland in football. The score at the end of the first quarter was Georgia Tech 66, Cumberland 0.  The game was not over, but it was as good as over, final score 222 to 0. When Jesus died on the cross it was not over, but it was as good as over. There was nothing the forces of darkness could do to put out the light that was lit throughout the centuries of human life. It was as good as over.

The difference between being out of or in the Presence of God is the difference of knowing when it was over.

Father, into your hands I commit my spirit. Luke 23:46

God's Love is unconditional and inclusive. Jesus is Loved by God in Sin as much as He is Loved when in communion. The Presence of His Love is always in all of us. We are not all always in this grace.  It takes spiritual understanding to know how to be in His grace.

Good Friday is old English for God's Friday.  It offers a wonderful time to understand spiritually and to daily pray, "Father into Your hands I commit my Spirit."


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