Vocation Meditation - <br />Passion Sunday, 2009 > Vocations.ca

Vocation Meditation -
Passion Sunday, 2009

When it was noon, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon. At there o'clock Jesus cried out with a loud voice, "Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?" which means, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" When some of the bystanders heard it, they said, "Listen, he is calling for Elijah." And someone ran, filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on a stick and gave it to him to drink, saying, "Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to take him down. Then Jesus gave a loud cry and breathed his last. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. Now when the centurion, who stood facing him, saw that in this way he breathed his last, he said, "Truly, this man was God's Son!" There were also women looking on from a distance; among them Mary Magdalene and Mary, the mother of James the younger and of Joses and Salome. These used to follow Him and provided for him when he was in Galilee; and there were many other women who had come up with him to Jerusalem.

This is the last scene of Jesus' Passion, a scene so terrible, even nature covered the skies with darkness to mourn its Saviour. Various people compose this scene revealing their place before this moment of darkness and triumph.

There was Jesus. He uttered the terrible cry, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" All through His life on earth He had done our work, faced our temptations and borne our trials - failure of friends, hatred of foes, malice of enemies, pain and loss. Up to this moment, He never had the human experience of being separated from God. This cry identified Him completely with our humanity. Jesus knew what it was like to be a sinner, far away from God. It was a cry of one agonizing and forsaken, yet one that prays and still clings to his God. Then, His last loud cry was a cry of triumph, not of despair because it shook the faith of those who saw him. Amidst the darkness, Jesus goes back to God, victorious in death.

There were the bystanders who just wished that Elijah would come. The moment did not move them to awe or reverence or even pity. Only morbid curiosity challenged them to stay and watch and wait.

There was the centurion. This Roman soldier had fought many battles and had seen many die. Yet, this Jesus was different. By the way Jesus suffered and died, he knew in his heart this was the Son of God. His faith shook him. He saw the glimmer of light and he believed.

There were the women in the distance. They were bewildered, heartbroken, drenched in sorrow, helpless to help - but they were there! They had followed Jesus in His ministry, attended to His needs and that of His friends. In Jesus last moment, they stayed with Him, if only from a distance.

There is one last thing to note in this scene. The curtain of the Temple was torn in two, from top to bottom, one that shut off the Holy of Holies, into which no one might go. Symbolically, this barrier is gone with the true Sacrifice of Jesus. God is not hidden anymore. There is no need to guess and grope. In Jesus, we can now approach God face to face. He hears our cries, however faint they are, with no barriers in between.

My Vocation Challenge:
In my vocational discernment, I need to take a stand before the Cross of Jesus.
Is it like that of the Women? The Bystanders? The Centurion? Or like that of Jesus, Himself?

Dear God,
The Cross is like the litmus test of my vocation to follow You. Pains, trials, challenges threaten to overwhelm me with darkness and loneliness. Jesus' final cry of loving surrender on the Cross strengthens me. I believe trials along my vocation path open the way for me to be a stronger, humbler, trustful servant you call me to be. Amen

For the full Gospel reading for this Sunday, visit the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops site.

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