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Moment in the Word


Matthew 27:45-46, 50-51, 54: Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over the whole earth, until the ninth hour. And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying: Eli, Eli, lamma sabacthani? that is, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? And Jesus again crying with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost. And behold the veil of the temple was rent in two from the top even to the bottom, and the earth quaked, and the rocks were rent. Now the centurion and they that were with him watching Jesus, having seen the earthquake, and the things that were done, were sore afraid, saying: Indeed this was the Son of God. (Douay-Rheims Bible)

St. John wrote of the Son of God, “All things were made by him: and without him was made nothing that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men.” (John 1:3-4 DRB)
However, on that terrible Black Friday, the Light that constantly shined since Genesis 1:3 suddenly went out, and those who witnessed the moment knew it was unlike anything they had ever seen!
Accusers, judges, executioners, curious bystanders, sympathetic family and friends all reacted the same, regardless of their original motive for standing at the foot of the cross, Luke pointed out in Chapter 23, verse 48.
Although the Son of God was and is eternal, for the first time in this reality the Creator died to His Creation.
What a terribly profound moment occurred when the sun stopped shining and the planet began tearing itself apart! This is what St. Paul meant when he wrote, “For the creature (Greek, ktisis - creation) was made subject to vanity (Greek, mataiotēs - depravity), not willingly, but by reason of him that made it subject, in hope.” (Romans 8:20 DRB)
But what hope can come from the creature being allowed to kill the Creator?
Quoting the messianic prophecy of Isaiah 61:1, Jesus said in Luke 4:18-19, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me. Wherefore he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor, he hath sent me to heal the contrite of heart, to preach deliverance to the captives,” and then again He said, “Amen, amen I say to you, unless the grain of wheat falling into the ground die, Itself remaineth alone. But if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. ” (John 12:24-25 DRB)
Although the witnesses of Black Friday did not know, the crucified Son of God had places to go, things to do, people to see, and the only way He could get there was through the gates of death. “He preached to those spirits that were in prison: Which had been some time incredulous (Greek, apeitheō - unbelieving, disobedient), when they waited for the patience of God in the days of Noe.” (1 Peter 3:19-20) And then, “He also descended first into the lower parts of the earth? He that descended is the same also that ascended above all the heavens, that he might fill all things.” (Ephesians 4:9-10 DRB)
But why was that necessary?
Well, besides “filling all things” or taking jurisdiction over all of creation, St. Paul says, “Ascending on high, he led captivity captive; he gave gifts to men.” (Ephesians 4:8 DRB)
So, whether living or dead, mankind received the most expensive gift Heaven could buy through the death of God's Son.
And what was that gift?
Unlike His friend Lazarus who already began to rot in the tomb after four days (John 11:39), Old Testament Scripture foretold that Jesus would arise from the grave in three days, and that miracle meant the power of death would be broken for the dead who hoped in Him.
“For I know that my Redeemer liveth, and in the last day I shall rise out of the earth. And I shall be clothed again with my skin, and in my flesh I will see my God. Whom I myself shall see, and my eyes shall behold, and not another: this my hope is laid up in my bosom.” (Job 19:25-27)
Just as ugly as Black Friday was, Easter Morning was truly that much more beautiful to the extreme! Never, since the time when God saw that the Sixth Day of Creation was “very good,” had there been such a gorgeous sunrise, and the reason was couched in the angel's proclamation, “He is not here, for he is risen, as he said. Come, and see the place where the Lord was laid.” (Matthew 28:1)
And the Creator said, “Because I live, ye shall live also!” (John 14:19)
Happy Easter!


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