Comments: The Mirage of Fear

I'm not sure. I seem to remember an awful lot of dread, and even panic and anger on the part of Our Lord as He faced His death; very much like the rest of us mortals when we face our own ends. When He said "My God my God, Why have you forsaken me?" I doubt He was piously quoting the 22nd Psalm.

Your point though about so much our enterprise driven by the fear of death is right on the mark. Life without that fear would indeed be profoundly different.

But, we all die, and we're all afraid of that fact, and here we are.

Posted by Counterlight at Monday, 6 April 2009 at 3:03pm BST

"But, we all die, and we're all afraid of that fact, and here we are."

One of the most profound things I can recall from recent television was on an episode of House. One of his assistants says of their patient, "She's dying...." and House responds, "We're all dying, just at different speeds."

Posted by Pat O'Neill at Monday, 6 April 2009 at 4:41pm BST

The gift of the Christmas babe. the Incarnation, had as its foundation the taking on of mortality. Included in that mortality was the dread of suffering and death. How useless is the Passion if Christ was immune to it? On the other hand the central purpose for me is the defeat of death through the acceptance of it by Christ. That is the reframing of the Eucharist, and which SHOULD bring God's Kingdom to earth. It is our fears and our need for our own memorialization that resists it.

Posted by BrotherBob at Monday, 6 April 2009 at 6:39pm BST

Ah, but the Last Supper is indeed a memorial. I don't know Greek so I can’t go to original sources, but English translations have Jesus of Nazareth saying, after the offering of both the (unleavened) bread and wine, after Jesus recites the blessings (or gives thanks, in the words of the Gospels), after making new symbols of each, Jesus says "Do this in remembrance of me." Regardless of the theology -- transubstantiation, consubstantiation, real presence, etc., -- of the Mass or Eucharist, those who bless and sanctify the elements, and those who receive them, do it in remembrance of Jesus. He lives on in that simple act of eating and drinking -- of, literally, breaking bread together.
As far as fear, the apostles had it in plentitude. That fact, and the aftermath, is what I find most striking. Upon Jesus’ arrest, Peter denies knowing Jesus. The apostles scatter. On Sunday morning, the re-united apostles and others are huddling in a room like scared rabbits, worrying about what will become of them. Will Pilate also round them up and execute them as accomplices? Will the High Priest move against them? Then Jesus re-enters their lives, and they are filled with joy. They are so transformed, that -- according to Church tradition -- 10 of the remaining 11 are martyred for their cause. They are willing to face torture and be executed for their cause. And they are so filled with joy that hundreds, then thousands, are attracted to their cause
That transformation, for me, a non-Christian, is what is the most striking about these people. Something Happened. Something entered their lives, and they were never the same.

Posted by peterpi at Monday, 6 April 2009 at 8:37pm BST

I well remember, in an Anglican Community of Franciscans in Australia, one of our Brothers preferring to sleep in an alcove in the wall of one of the cells of the friary - somewhat like a recessed tomb. He said it reminded him of our common human mortality. We thought he was nuts at the time, but with the approach of old age, one marvels at the insight. I guess such an approach to life-through-the-lens of-death would be a healthy way of viewing our eternal destiny in Xp.

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Tuesday, 7 April 2009 at 5:20am BST

"Rejoice not against me, O mine enemy: when I fall, I shall arise; when I sit in darkness, the LORD shall be a light unto me." - Micah 7:8

Posted by Rev L Roberts at Wednesday, 8 April 2009 at 1:33pm BST

"When He said "My God my God, Why have you forsaken me?" I doubt He was piously quoting the 22nd Psalm." - Counterlight -

No. I have the idea that Jesus, being fully human - as well as divine - had to experience the separation from God that is the hallmark of sin.
If Jesus was to bear our sins, then he must have had an actual experience (humanly speaking) of separation from the Father he loved. That, alone, would have been devastating.

However, for me, the great wonder is that in the end, after asking his Father to forgive everyone connected with his death, Jesus commended his spirit into the hands of God. His cry of despair was truly human; his forgiveness and final resignation, truly divine.

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Thursday, 9 April 2009 at 4:46am BST
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