The Portal April 2017 - Page 5

THE P RTAL April 2017 Page 5 Passiontide: The Four Crosses A meditation on the passion by Fr David Mawson O n the First Good Friday four men carried crosses: (1) The unrepentant robber, (2) The penitent thief, (3) Simon of Cyrene and (4) Jesus himself. The hardened thief (Luke 23:39) blamed everyone but himself.  He blamed Jesus for not saving himself and the two criminals crucified with him.  He could not recognise that it was his own lawless life which had brought him his just reward.  For him there was no repentance, no reconciliation, no release. a heavy load.  And we may, in our best moments be ready to help Christ himself as he bears the burden of the world’s sin and pain. Can we recognise that we are our own cross, and that our weakness and wilfulness have brought us the consequences of suffering?    Can we be thankful for Then there was the penitent thief (Luke 23:40-43); he the unfailing love and the free and full forgiveness saw clearly enough that it was his own evil life that had brought by Christ?  brought him to the cross.  Yet he was able to recognise that the cross had brought him into contact with Jesus Christ is with every cross-bearer even when the and that Jesus had given him peace and forgiveness, cross is of our own making.  Jesus comes, like Simon and the promise that there would be something better of Cyrene, to carry the cross when we fall under it after the pains of torture and death. through our weakness and our pain. Next there was Simon of Cyrene (Mark 15:21, “We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you, because Romans 16:13) who was pressed into service by the by your Holy Cross you have redeemed the world.” Roman execution squad.  He was just an innocent passer-by, brought in by chance to carry the cross of Lord Jesus – the unrepentant thief cursed you for his the exhausted, worn-out Jesus.  own misfortune, though it was fully justified.  Grant us the grace to accept the consequences of our own sins That cross changed Simon’s life; we know that his and look to you for forgiveness… sons became well-known Christians and this must have happened through their father’s changed life.  Lord Jesus - the penitent thief looked for a part in Although circumstances compelled him to carry a the coming of your kingdom and received your words cross, as he did so his heart changed for the man he of hope and comfort.   Grant hope and reconciliation, was helping and the experience transfigured him and healing and peace, to all who look death in the face changed his life. today… And finally there was Christ’s own cross, chosen and Lord Jesus – Simon of Cyrene was forced to carry accepted as the way to show the unvanquishable love your cross.  Give us grace to lift heavy loads from the of God and the unlimited fo rgiveness of our heavenly backs and shoulders of those we meet and to support Father.   Jesus went to meet his own cross, accepted it those in need.  May we do so willingly and with love… willingly and gladly – and so was lifted to deathless life for himself and for others. Lord Jesus – you carried your cross as the punishment for our sins because you loved us so much.  Grant There may indeed be something of all of these four us grace and strength to work for the reconciliation crosses in our own lives.  At different times and in which you won at such a cost… different situations we may find ourselves echoing the complaint of the unrepentant thief, or accepting the THE P RTAL 6 .. ,0 . 0 a 0 s m do a w ny n a lo s ads every month 20,000 re justice of our misfortune and looking to Jesus in hope aders www.portalmag.co.uk through pain like the repentant thief.  Or we may just To advertise in T he P ortal contact: sometimes be able to lift the weight and relieve the pain and agony of someone else who is suffering under adverts@portalmag.co.uk