What Last Measure
Dear Creator Family,
Yesterday I knelt before a life-size Crucifix of Christ, not hanging high on a wall, distant and inaccessible, or cloistered in a niche, revered and hollowed for centuries, but just five feet in front of me above a small altar in a humble chapel.
During my prayer, I looked up at the bloodied, abused face of Christ, and my eyes fell to a centuries-old, "anonymous address to Christ," reproduced on a placard leaning against the wall, it read…
Lord Jesus, on this earth of ours, a land sprinkled with human sweat, a land bathed in blood, a land traversed by love and hatred, your Cross was planted, an instrument of violence that made you an image of pain.
Rejected by crowds, abandoned by friends, confused with criminals, stripped of your dignity, tortured in body and soul, you have descended to the bottom of the abyss of suffering and annihilation, where it seems that even God is far away.
Yet your arms, nailed to the cross, remain open to welcome everyone. Yet your mouth speaks only words of forgiveness and promises of happiness. Lord Jesus, and promises of happiness.
Lord Jesus, your story continues in the daily litany of betrayal, refusal, infidelity, of abuse, of revenge, of hatred, around the world.
Before your cross, which stands before the world, new, but in truth, the same stories unfold propelled by those who do not know you.
We feel more acutely the tragedy of the poor peoples of the world who bear the weight of sin and corruption, in them, your passion still continues.
The outrageous destructions, the daily crimes, the suffering inflicted on the weak and the helpless, lift high the Cross and bear you Crucified yet again.
After the last blow of the spear, after the last action of war, after the last gratuitous violence against the innocent, we implore you for all men and especially for those who use the power of weapons to offend, to humiliate, to impose their will upon others.
Let their eyes be opened to the evil committed, the devastating consequences of their actions, on those who mourn, on the ruined lives, and on the despair of the people.
Break through to their hearts that they may recognize your features in the disfigured faces of the oppressed. That the blood of each victim is your blood that fell from your Cross. Make them know that YOU are the brother of every creature that suffers.
Centuries ago, or today; the Guanche people, or the Ukrainians; there will always be those who will not accept the sacrifice of Christ and who choose the self over peace.
Perhaps if we are able to do more, someone may be saved.
Look into the abused, bloodied face of Christ and ask, "what last measure can I give to honor the sacrifice he gave to me?"
Et Crucifixus Christus,
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Father Bill Burk†