|Thirty pieces, as St. Augustine would point out, is the multiplication of 3 (honoring the Trinity) and 10 (the number for the fullness of Grace). It's not a matter of what Judas has gained by selling Christ, but what he has lost, just as each of us lose when we turn to the world instead of to God. Long time readers of this blog should be thinking about the links we have made since October between the defeating of werewolves by anything silver, for the reasons given above, because the man who has become enslaved to his sexual appetites can only be saved by the Word of God, that is, something silver. (For more, please see The Bright Autumn Moon: The Wolf Man).|
We’ve gone over this before, specifically in The Kiss and the Soul: Gustav Klimt, but it’s so important it’s worth examining once more. When God created Adam, He brought Adam to Life with the Breath of Life, a Kiss; when Adam took the bite of the Forbidden Fruit, that Breath of Life left him, and he was dead in sin (the expelling of the Holy Spirit from his soul). So that Jesus truly becomes the “New Adam,” Judas kissing Jesus takes the Breath of Life from Our Lord as the Fruit and its disobedience took it from Adam. (When Jesus is Resurrected, and enters the Upper Room where the Apostles are gathered, He Breathes on them, returning to them the Breath of Life lost among men with Adam’s sin and at Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit comes, it’s as a Rush of Wind; to insure that we know this is THE BREATH OF LIFE given to the Apostles, there are Flames of Fire like Tongues, from the Holy Spirit’s Mouth; for more, please see The Kiss and the Soul: Gustav Klimt).
Immaculate Conception, which I should not do (when Jesus is washing His Hands and splashes some up on Mary, this is a reference to how she has shared in His Cleansing because she will share in His Work). This intimate moment in the life of Jesus and Mary, just before His real Work is about to begin, shows us how she knew more than any of us would have known, but she still is not God, and she still had to endure the great Cloud of Unknowing like all of us.
In the Old Testament, Rebecca gave water to the camels of Isaac’s servants, prophesying the role of Mary as the Mediatrix of Grace. But just as the Old Testament prophets weren’t able to do everything as perfectly as what Jesus will accomplish, so the prophetesses could not accomplish everything as well as Mary, they could only be signs of what was still to come in the Virgin and what her work would be regarding Salvation history. The point is, when Rebecca watered the camels, humans were still animals living in sin (Moses hadn’t even received the Law yet); even though Judas had spent three years with Jesus, it hasn’t done him any good, it hasn’t received the Water of Life (the Water Jesus tells the Samaitain woman about at the well) and that’s why the camel is dry and decomposing. That lack of Grace in Judas’ soul is why he hangs himself, condemning himself to die in Original Sin.
|Pilate has big ears and short hair: Pilate listens (the ears) but his extremely short hair means that he “doesn’t have very deep thoughts” and so doesn’t fully think things through, leading to his rash decision.|
It was, as we all know the task that lowly servants would perform upon their masters (John the Baptist said he was not worthy to untie the strap of Jesus' sandal) but the Love Jesus imparts to His disciples is to also give them humility. True humility so that their position with Him and Love for them does not make them proud. The feet symbolize humility, for Jesus to wash the feet means that He is giving them a truer, deeper humble approach to what He has called them to do so they do not become proud and can be turned away from their destiny by the pitfalls of sin.
One of the great Mysteries of the Gospels, we simply don't know; everything from the sins of those who would stone Magdalen to the names of the ones who themselves had lusted for her in their hearts. But let's ask ourselves, when does God write anything? God wrote the Ten Commandments and the Hand of God wrote the prophecy on the wall of Belshazzar's Feast. We know that Jesus says, "Let him who is without sin cast the first stone," and it's possible that this very sentence is what He wrote, that in the sand it would be passing and pertain only to Magdalen's sin, but writing and saying it meant that it would become a part of the Law of Love that Jesus meant to instill in the hearts of each of us.
Behold the man!
Two words of the greatest importance because it's what happened to Adam after his Sin: the eating of the Forbidden Fruit had deformed his soul such as we see in the Body of Jesus, and that deformity is what made Adam realize his shame before God, causing him to hide from his Father and Creator, so that when God called to Adam, Adam did not come. With the embracing of the Cross, we see the greatest example for us in the true lesson of Humility and the embracing of our own own troubles and difficulties in life.
When Simon and Jesus reach the top of Calvary, they have made the incredible climb of the hill of Golgotha. That's because, in the spiritual life, the hardest work always comes at the end, because you are then weakest, and God can be at His Strongest, so it's Him doing the work, not you, but the previous work has helped you to sufficiently advance in the virtues so that can can do the work of Calvary, the Place of the Skull.
When Mary, Magdalen, and John reach the top, Mary and Jesus look into each other's eyes and Mary kneels, in prayer, without any words, so that Jesus might be given the Strength He needs to stand and complete His Work. It has been said by the saints that Mary was so obedient to the Word of God, that if God had so willed that Mary herself nail the stakes into the Body of Jesus, she would have done it. Are we obedient enough to even make it to church on Sunday?
Why is Jesus crucified?
There is the shame, there is the disgrace, but there is another reason why the Bread of Life wished to have Nails driven into His Hands and Feet: the Patriarch Isaac was a well digger. In order to demonstrate that Jesus was indeed the Messiah, He had to accomplish All things perfectly and better than the Patriarchs and the Prophets, so His Work would be recognized. Isaac, a well-digger, could dig wells that would give earthly water, life-giving water in the desert, but Jesus had Wells of Mercy and Grace dug into His Own Flesh with the Nails so that, through His Wounds, we would have life-giving Grace in the desert of life on earth.
Jesus has His Arm stretched so far that it comes out of joint; then He's turned over onto His Back; why? This is what has happened to His Teachings, people--supposedly with good intentions--have made decisions about what Jesus meant and so separated His Teaching from the rest of His Body and turned what He said and did over to hurt others instead of help them.
Even in the midst of misery, there is consolation: to bless her and aid her through this trial, Magdalen is allowed to see the angels holding up the ends of the Cross when the soldiers flip Jesus over; she is the only one, but her anguish is so great, that God reminds her He is with her and she heard all that He said He would do. When Christ is raised up, Magdalen pulls a black shawl over her head, to pray and contemplate, to remember all the lessons she has taken within herself because this is how she has been called to run the race, for herself and others.
Back in the days of Moses, when he went to Pharoah and told him to "Let my people go," Moses cast down a rod and it turned into a snake; Pharoah's magicians also cast down rods that turned into snakes, but the serpent of Moses ate the serpents of Pharoah. The serpent of Moses represented Christ, because God and the demons are of the same type, that is, God created those who would become demons, but the power the demons have come from God, but God's power is supreme, that's why Moses' serpent ate the others. Then, in the wilderness, the people complained and the seraph serpents came and bit them with deadly venom and people were dying; so Moses raised up a serpent upon a pole, and Christ told His followers that He, too would be raised up and those serpents were demons biting the people and leading them into sin, but Christ's Sacrifice would save people from the death of the serpents.
|Pilate with the sign, "Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews."|
There is an important point of contention which Jews cite as a legitimate reason for not believing that Jesus of Nazareth was the Messiah. They claim that when God led the Jews to Mount Sinai, He publicly gave them the Ten Commandments so that all would know them; Jesus, however, instructed His disciples privately, in secret, so not everyone could have access to the Message of God equally. The preaching of the Apostles doesn't matter at this point, it is, rather, the decree, the sign nailed to the Cross with Jesus that was the public statement of God that here was the One who fulfilled the Law perfectly for Israel even though He was branded a criminal. Jesus was crucified outside the city gates where all who were there for the Passover could read it because it was in three languages, so that is the "public aspect" of Jesus' ministry. Further, it can be argued, that the giving of the Ten Commandments wasn't public because only the 600,000 Jews received it, only people of the Hebrew tongue, whereas people of the three dominant languages received the notice that Jesus of Nazareth is King of the Jews.
When Jesus spread out His Arms upon the Cross, it invoked Moses, again, because Moses spread out his arms to separate the Red Sea so Israel could safely pass over the dry land to freedom from Egypt; Jesus spread out His Arms so that we could pass safely from the land of sin to the Land of Life. Regarding the taunts standers-by call out to Jesus to "Come down from the Cross!" fulfills the work of the Prophet Nehemiah who, as he was rebuilding the Temple, heard his enemies say to him to "come down" from the walls so they could speak to him and kill him. Just as Nehemiah knew he would lose his life if he came down, so, upon His Cross, Christ knows He will lose all He has won for us if He comes down and, like Nehemiah, won't.
There is also the fulfillment of the Prophet Elijah and his challenge to the god Baal. Just as Elijah called down the Fire of God to destroy the false god Baal, so Jesus is given the Fire of God--the Holy Spirit--to destroy Satan by Love. This is a course of division amongst some Christians: was Jesus crucified in His Hands or in His Wrists? In His discourse with St. Catherine of Siena, Christ assured her that the Nails were driven into His Hands, because it wasn't the Nails keeping Him on the Cross, but the Fire of Love of the Holy Spriti so He could complete His Work.
Saint Dismas is the shame of Israel.
Having not heard the Good News before, even this thief can see that Jesus prays for His enemies, and that He must be Lord, indeed. Dismas outshines Judas, the bad thief, and the High Priest Caiphus by only hearing a few words and understanding the Gospel so well in what he sees in Jesus, that he is blessed with Heaven that very day. Gesmas, on the other hand, will not see so he loses his eye to the bird of death. Historians have argued that this isn't possible, but again, this isn't history, this is art, and art communicates to us what history cannot.
When Mary kisses the feet of Jesus, she drinks the Well of Humility to sustain her for what she knows she still has left to do. Just before Jesus dies, He declares Mary to be "Woman," that in her work and contributions to Salvation history, Mary has undone what Eve did, and now, "all things can be made new," and she is no longer Mary, but Woman, the title that Adam had given to Eve, but Eve lost by her sin, which is now given to Mary because of Mary's Obedience, Humility and Sacrifice.
For what does Jesus Thirst?
So many saints have written deep and meaningful expositions, but perhaps it is as simple as Jesus thirsting for consolation. As the poet Gerard Manly Hopkins wrote, "Lord, send my roots rain," it is the aridity of suffering in the desert that has no consolation (such as Mother Theresa experienced) that brings the most anguish to saints, but also, the greatest saints. Jesus experiences the greatest anguish because His is also the Greatest Consolation in His Resurrection that is to come.
The drop of rain which comes down is symbolizes two things: first, the Rain of Grace that will permit the Lord to comfort all people in their trials and misery. It is the end of the desert of sin and the beginning of the Reign of Grace. Secondly, and more important, is the drop of water which the priest adds to the wine at Mass: the water is added to demonstrate that, just as you cannot take the drop of water out of the wine once it has been added, so you cannot take Christ out of the world since He has come, died and risen. The Temple Veil is divided into half because it is the Jewish custom that, upon hearing of the death of their child or loved one, they rip their clothing, over their heart, to show their humility that it is God's right to take life; the Temple Veil being torn was/is the tangible sign to the Jews and Pharisees that God's Only Child had died. Just because Satan is conquered does not mean that we do not still invite Satan into our souls and give the devils and demons free reign over us, because we do, but the Cross is there for us, to go and drink of the Wells of Mercy which Christ so lovingly dug for our needs.
This is only a tiny, and humble exploration of a great film that touches upon our most important purpose in life: our salvation. When the Stone is rolled back, it reminds us of Jacob rolling back the stone for Rachel to water the sheep, because the stone that Jesus moved is the stone blocking our hearts, and the water is the Life of Grace. Just as Jesus told Mary that He makes all things new, so He has been made anew, and He longs to make our souls anew, to cleanse us in the Water of Baptism and Grace.