The Hidden Power of God

Mar 29th, 2010 | By | Category: Blog Posts

The morning dawn gave way to overcast skies and as the day slowly progressed the skies became gloomier and gloomier. Just outside the city there is a darkness on the edge of town. Many different emotions fill the air. There is a buzz as people make last minute preparations for the feast that they will begin celebrating later in the day. Military units are poised all around as many people have visited the area doubling the number of inhabitants in the city. There is the potential for some trouble with all the people gathered in one area. Some residents may be plotting an uprising and the army has their eyes on the lookout for the chance that several revolutionaries may be zealous enough to fire the first strike.

The scene shifts to a melancholy band of men. They are gathered in a home, finally out of harm’s way, pondering the last 12 hours or so. They have that ‘day after’ look on their faces, the feeling one gets when the adrenalin settles down and you begin to pick up the pieces, trying to sort out what is going on. They talk amongst themselves in hushed tones, the kind of talk one engages in when they are reflecting. They wrestle with the strange events that they have witnessed, not only from the night before, but the last three years of their lives. They are trying their best to make sense of it all. They shake their heads and say, “But we heard His words…We heard Him say He was the One…We saw Him heal many…He even calmed the seas…” A lonely voice in the room pipes in, “Yeah but what about last night…that was strange wasn’t it? I mean He started talking about His body being broken…and then, of all things, His blood being poured…Remember that time when He said for us to eat His flesh and drink His blood?” Another one of the group chimes in, “I should have listened to His relatives…remember when they came for Him because they thought He was out of His mind? It was then I should have said I am leaving Him…three years of my life for what? So my countrymen can mock me and the Romans kill me!!!” A voice from the back speaks up, “Yeah that might all be true…maybe we were wrong but we should not have abandoned Him. We made a vow and swore to stay with Him and we fled…every last one of us.”

The story shifts to another character…a mother…weeping as she sees her Son being bound and whipped…bloodied and beaten…His face is beyond recognition…she can hardly look but she can’t look away…this is her Son. Thoughts rush in her mind like a tidal wave…thinking back to promises made to her concerning her Child. He will be a king and receive the throne of His father David and He shall be called the Son of the Most High. Her soul is aching as she drops to her knees from the pain…another thought overwhelms her…”a sword will pierce through your own soul”, she remembers. This Mother now can only watch as the lifeless body of Her beloved Son is placed into her arms. In the midst of this moment she holds to the hope that had been promised to her.

As I ponder about Jesus’ path to and his eventual crucifixion and death cry, “My God My God why have You forsaken Me” I am struck by the hidden power of God. So often we (or at least I) run the risk of thinking that in order for God to be at work it must be something outwardly glorious and obvious, but the cross tells us that is not often the case.

Pope John Paul II wrote in reference to this cry of Jesus, “On Calvary it came natural to Jesus to make use of the psalmist’s question to God when he felt completely worn out by suffering. But on Jesus’ lips the “why” addressed to God was also more effective in expressing a pained bewilderment at that suffering which had no merely human explanation, but which the Father alone held the key. . . the question contained a theological significance in regards to the sacrifice whereby Christ, in full solidarity with sinful humanity, had to experience in himself abandonment by God. . . Jesus also established a new manner of solidarity with us who are so often moved to raise our eyes and words to heaven to express our complaint and even desperation. In hearing Jesus crying out “why,” we learn indeed that those who suffer can utter this same cry, but with those same dispositions of filial trust and abandonment of which Jesus is teacher and model. There is no semblance of a reproach to the Father, but the expression of the experience of weakness, of solitude, of abandonment to himself, made by Jesus in our place. . . Jesus’ human soul was reduced to a wasteland. He no longer felt the presence of the Father, but he underwent the tragic experience of the most complete desolation. . . If sin is separation from God, Jesus had to experience in the crisis of his union with the Father a suffering proportionate to that separation. On the other hand in quoting the beginning of Psalm 22, which he perhaps continued to recite mentally during the passion, Jesus did not forget the conclusion which becomes a hymn of liberation and an announcement of salvation granted to all by God. . . From this thought his soul took strength and joy in the knowledge that at the very height of the drama of the cross, the hour of victory was at hand” (Jesus Son and Savior pp. 471-473).

The hidden power of God at work…the hidden power of God defeating the principalities and powers through the dirty, painful, and bloody death of a 1st century Jewish man named Jesus of Nazareth. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, for the glorious work of redemption. Amen.

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