The dramatic agony of the cross has often led the preachers of the past to insist excessively on the gory aspects of Jesus’ passion. From this preaching images, popular representations and some devotions are derived in which the violence of the blows of the scourging, the falls under the weight of the cross, the sadism of the soldiers exasperated. This type of approach to the Gospel texts do not make a good service to the understanding of the Easter events, indeed, it blurs the meaning.
Disciple is one who follows in the footsteps of the Master. “Your attitude should be the same as Jesus Christ had”—Paul recommends to the Philippians (Phil 2:5). “I have just given you an example,” Jesus says, “that as I have done you also may do.” He “has not come to be served but to serve” (Mk 10:45). Even his disciples, following his example, are called to be servants.
The Synod in Rome in October last year focused on young people, faith and vocational discernment; in his reflection on the Synod published last week, Pope Francis places the energy, creativity and openness of young people at the centre of his reform of the Church.
“Despite so many efforts to promote and reinforce the fundamental human right of religious freedom, we are actually witnessing a continued deterioration, we might even say an assault, of this inalienable right in many parts of the world,” Cardinal Pietro Parolin said on April 3.
When the Romans designed crucifixion as their means of capital punishment, they had more in mind than simply putting someone to death. They wanted to accomplish something else too, namely, to make this death a spectacle to serve as the ultimate deterrent so that anyone seeing it would think twice about committing the offense for which the person was being crucified.