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Christ Crucified

Fr. Lawrence Jagdfeld, O.F.M., Administrator

Today St. Paul goes right to the heart of the Gospel. We preach Christ crucified. (1 Corinthians 1:23a)

With apologies to all my friends who are Cubs fans, it is something of a human truth that we don’t usually follow after losers. In human terms, Jesus is, in the eyes of the world, the vanquished one. For those without faith, Jesus lost and the Roman and Jewish officials won. The theology of the Hebrew Scriptures is very much a theology of reciprocity. Good people are rewarded; bad people are punished. This is just one of the reasons why people found it difficult to believe in Jesus. They were not used to the notion that God would honor and glorify someone who died such an ignominious death. Crucifixion was a badge of dishonor; God would not visit such a punishment on a just man.

However, for those who have faith in the resurrection, we see Jesus not as the "loser," but as the one who is honored because of his obedience. Suffering is no longer a badge of dishonor for the just one. The Hebrew Scriptures were beginning to see this in the Book of Job, a late addition to the Hebrew canon. It is only in the Christian Scriptures that this notion is fully explored, illustrated, and accepted. St. Paul’s assertion that we preach or proclaim Christ crucified is followed up by saying that it is a stumbling block for the Jews (those who believe in the theology of reciprocity) and foolishness for the Greeks whose philosophy does not admit to an afterlife.

CUSANS are living embodiments of the preaching of Christ crucified. God is working through us to confound the world. Like Christ, we will know the honor and glory that Jesus received.

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