[I don't have to preach this Good Friday so I checked out what I preached on in the past. Here is a long sermon - a bit wordy and a bit heady. It was given to a small group of Redemptorist novices and Redemptoristine Nuns. Did I put whoever was there asleep?]
Good Friday 1988.
This afternoon I would like to
present some vignettes, some examples, some stories, and some quotes on the Cross.
My hope would be to provide some thoughts and feelings for meditation and
prayer. It will be sort of like a kaleidoscope of colors and images. If they
help, good; if not, bad Friday.
Good Friday has a space of its own. It doesn’t need
words. In fact, the Cross, the central symbol of our life as Christians, is
wordless. So we have our own meanings and feelings and sometimes, words, about
We wear the cross around our necks and we put it on our walls. Why? What meanings do we give to Christ on the Cross?
Christ on the Cross speaks to us on Good Friday or Bad Fridays or
any day or any night of the week. Stop! Look! Listen! Having said that I will try to put together some
words about the Cross.
my reflections and stories under 4 headings -- like the four arms of the cross:
Sin, Silence, Love and Understanding.
When we look at the Cross, we see
We see evil. We see cruelty.
The cross is not only the tree of
the knowledge of good. It’s also the tree of the knowledge of evil. It shows how cruel people can be to people.
Pierre Benoit in his book, The Passion and Resurrection of Jesus Christ,
says that in the time of Jesus, the worst way to be killed was to be burnt
alive. (Cf. p. 166) After that was crucifixion.
So the cross represents horror and hurt - especially towards one another. The Cross represents all the sins
of the world. It represents all the evil that people inflict on each other. Loud and clear,
we see Jesus as a victim of sin.
The questions that hit me when I
reflect upon the cross this way are these: Why did they kill Jesus? Why did they
do it ? And why do we crucify each other? Why do we hurt one another?
But, let’s stick with Jesus. Why did
they hate him? What did he do to deserve this? Why was Jesus killed?
I found a sermon by Edward
Schillebeeckx entitled, “God as a Loud Cry” (Mark 15. 37; Matt 27.50) It’s in his book, God Among Us (N.Y. Crossroad, 1983), pp. 73 - 77.
It’s worth reflecting upon. It's worth asking: why did
they kill Jesus?
Schillebeeckx answers, “Jesus died
because of his radical respect for human life which is not reconciled and needs
to be reconciled.” (p. 77.) Why did they kill Jesus? Jesus treated people with
respect. That was radical. Jesus refused to treat people as anonymous. He would
not play society’s games, when and where human beings were treated as things or
as less than human. He went against the Master/Servant system. He spoke out for
the oppressed. His life style was one that excluded no one. He cared about
people - all people. He went against classes and caste - such as:
elite religious people / the slobs,
etc. / etc.
He was against using people or
ripping people off, especially in the marketplace or the synagogue. He was with the suffering and
those who were treated unjustly by others. He spoke to all, but he seems to
have had a preference for the outcast. He went against privilege. His was for radical love. He was radical. He put his ax, his words, his questions and his
actions to the roots of things.
According to Jesus, the purpose of
life here on earth is to create. From all appearances that seems to be why God
started it all. “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth” (Genesis 1:28). Read
the 15th chapter of the Gospel of John. The purpose of life is to be fruitful
and not to be a withered branch that is useless. Our glory and the Father is
“glorified in our bearing much fruit and becoming his disciples” (John 15:8).
Life continues and life goes on when we are doing the Father’s will. When we
live life to the full, we bring about the kingdom. (Cf. John 10:10). Everything
is to be as the Father planned and created it. When it’s not taking place there
is a need for re-planning. There is the need for creative ways to bring about universal reconciliation.
So Jesus was creative. He worked to bring about the
Kingdom, the vision, the plan, the dream of the Father. This was the reason why God
created the world in the first place.
As Jesus walked around, he noticed that too often
people looked like lost sheep without a shepherd. People were being fed to the
wolves or led to the slaughter. Too many people were sleep walking.
Life was not to be lived by fate or
games or compulsion or by dominating other people. People are not to be valued
by prestige, productivity and success. If we take that position, we can
devalue those who are not productive or successful. Someone who is labeled, "sick" or "handicapped" can be also labeled as "usless" or a "drain". Will we get to the day when someone advocates killing them? Will people want to abort and terminate
the retarded, the ugly or the unwanted? Questions: do we label people as replaceable or irreplaceable? If we do that, then when they are
replaceable, do we see people as disposable? Do we see some people as waste products? When we hold that
“progress is our most important product”, then those who are not progressing
can be dumped as an “anonymous, replaceable pawn” in the words of
Why was Jesus killed? He didn’t see
the Kingdom happening. In the fullness of time, he saw the kingdom as God's Dream and God's Will and tried to bring it about by word
and action. He started to make demands, and he demanded too much. Whenever we become prophetic about how people treat others wrongly or unfairly, the crowd screams, "Crucify him or her!"
Or as Schillebeeckx puts it, “Thus
Good Friday points to the unconditional character of Jesus’ message and his
life-style of universal reconciliation, excluding no one. This message, as an
element of Jesus’ action, was closer to his heart than the consequences of it
for his own life. This of itself points to the definitive validity of any
praxis of life. This of itself is valid in and of itself, and not on the basis of
any subsequent success that it may have. Without the radicalism of this message
and this action, Jesus’ death would not have become inevitable. His death is
therefore neither a tragic coincidence nor a sorry combination of
circumstances.” (p. 75)
Schillebeeckx goes on, “Not that
Jesus sought his death. But where the radicalism of his caring identification
with the suffering and the wrong inflicted on others knows no bounds and will
not be deterred in any way, this world is dealt a fatal blow. In that case the
world adopts even more radical opposition to the threat posed by love and the
one posing the threat is immediately put out of the way.” (p. 75).
Why was Jesus killed? Sin kills
people and speaking out against it also kills people. Sin is a vicious circle.
Conversion means yelling out: “Stop the merry-go-round, actually, the
killing-go-round, I want to get off.”
Now, as Schillebeeckx puts it, it
wasn’t till afterwards, well after their Easter experience, that the disciples
recognized all this. It took time. How about us? Have we yet got a glimpse
on what Jesus was about?
This was his Father business. Jesus said
it when he was 12 in the temple at Jerusalem.
He said it on the cross when he put all into his Father’s hands,
And when he died, he cried loud cries. Sin causes screams like that!
The second reflection on the cross
that I would like to offer is that of love. This is what I hear as the main
message of Saint Alphonsus about the cross. He keeps repeating himself and the saints when he tells us to study the cross. Read the cross as you would read a book, and you’ll hear God say
to you loud and clear, “I love you.”
Look at a cross and you’ll hear
Jesus saying, “Take a look at me here dying for you and you will hear me loving
We all know the words of Jesus,
“Greater love than this no one has than that they lay down their life for their
friends.” The other day, we might have heard in the news the story about an old
man in New York
who jumped in front of a bus to try to save 2 boys. They were hurt, but lived
because of the action of the man. He was killed. “Greater love than this, no
one has, that they lay down their life for their friends.”
When we love others we give them our
life. “This is my body given to you. This is my blood which is being poured out
When I teach about Carl Jung’s
personality types, I like to use the following story to explain the difference
between a feeler and a thinker. A thinker would never use this story when he or
she was preaching or teaching. A feeler might. However, the story is kind of
Story: A little girl was
sitting on her front porch one summer morning. She was all by herself and
wished some friends were around. Not having any she wrote a letter with crayons
on a piece of paper. When she finished it, she folded the note neatly and went
and put it in the arm of a tree. Now a mailman was coming up the block, so
maybe it was a game she played with him. His job was to give out mail. Now he
was about to receive a letter. Well, he went up and took the letter from the
tree. He opened it and read, “To anyone, I love you.”
Now that is smushy. But Jesus from
the tree of the cross has been saying for 2,000 years. “To anyone, to everyone,
I love you.”
We look at the cross and discover
how much God loves us.
In preparing for this homily, I read
several Good Friday homilies. In one of them I found a “smushy” story that hit
me. I am a feeler. It’s from the life of Elizabeth and Robert Browning.
Story: One morning after
breakfast, Elizabeth Barrett Browning left her husband in the dining room and
went upstairs. A servant cleared the table where he expected to work. After the
servant had left, soft footsteps sounded behind him and his wife’s hand on his
shoulder kept him from turning so he could see her face. She slipped a manuscript
into his pocket saying, “Please read this, and if you do not like it, tear it
up.” Then she fled back upstairs while Robert read this beautiful love poem by a woman to the man of her choice. In it are the lines,
face of all the world
changed, I think,
first I heard
footstep of thy soul.”
Critics of her poetry say that most
of her poetry, except her love poems to her husband, are stiff, mechanical and
without life. Somebody had told her to write about what’s in her life, in her
heart, her experiences, and not about ancient history and stuff out there. The
result were the great poems, “How do I love thee, let me count the ways.”
Well, I tell that story to say that
the cross is a poem that Jesus hands to us. Hopefully we won’t tear it up or
find it without life. It’s a great love poem that says over and over. “How do I
love you? Jesus is saying, "Take some time to read my love
poem over and over again and count all the ways I’m saying to you over and over
again. 'I love you.'"
For us here this afternoon, Jesus is
the one we love. He is the one whom we decided to leave home and let go of our
fishing nets for and follow. Can we say with Elizabeth Barrett Browning,
face of all the world
changed, I think,
first I heard
footsteps of thy soul.”
In a season like Lent, in a week
like Holy Week, on a day like today, we look to Jesus, the center and core of
our life, the person we are willing to live and die for. We entered this life
in love with him, we continue in this life in love with him, and we hope to die
in this life in love with him.
So we are here today looking at the
cross, looking at the one we love and who loves us.
face of all the world
changed, I think,
first I heard
footsteps of thy soul.”
And besides SIN and LOVE, the third
thing we feel when we look at the cross is silence. I cannot but think that
there was a lot of silence at Calvary.
Yesterday, Holy Thursday, we sat
around the altar. We were close together. It was a celebration, the Passover
Meal, the Last Supper. We want to be together in celebration when we eat, and
not scattered all over the place.
Today, Good Friday, is a different
feeling and experience. We are not in a dining room. It’s as if we are in a Funeral Parlor.
And when we go into a funeral parlor, we become quiet. We walk in and look for
a seat to be quiet and silent with our own thoughts and feelings about the
person in the coffin, who has died. So that was why we set up the chairs in the chapel rather close
together yesterday and with plenty of space today.
It must have been quiet at Calvary. When we watch the evening news and see some kid
in Palestine who was shot and killed or some woman being beaten with clubs, we
say, “Oh no!” We put our hand to our mouth. Our jaw becomes tight. Violence
brings on silence. Stunned. Quiet. Numb. Frozen. Think of any tragedy. Think of
any death. We walk into a funeral parlor. We say a few things. If it was a
tragic death, we might say something like, “I don’ t know what to say.” We hope
our flowers or card, but especially our presence makes up what we lack in
S I L E N C E ............
S I L E N C E ............
S I L E N C E ............
And the fourth and last message that
I would like to reflect upon about the cross is that Jesus not only says from
the cross, “I love you”, but he also says, “I understand.” We have to stand
under the cross and hear Jesus say to us, “I understand.” When we are in pain,
stand under the cross till you hear the words, “I understand.” Jesus has been there for centuries
saying just that. Our God understands.
I was reading a sermon for Good
Friday by a Rev. Marie Fortune. It is entitled, “My God, My God, Why Have You
Forsaken Me?” It’s in a collection of sermons by women, SPINNING A SACRED YARN, (Pilgrim Press, N.Y. 1982). And in that
sermon she says that there are countless women who feel like Christ felt as he was abandoned
on the cross. There are so many women who are screaming out, “My God, My
Friends, My Clergymen, My Counselors, Why have you forsaken me?” Try to
understand what has happened to me.
Her experience was with sexual and
domestic violence in the United
States. Her experience was that churches so
often minimized family violence. “It’s not a big deal - it doesn’t happen that
Then she makes this comment,
“Particularly since the Second World War, theologians have addressed at great
length the issues of violence and nonviolence: the theory of a ‘just’ war; the
question of whether Hitler should have been assassinated in order to stop his
violence; the civil rights movement and the practice of nonviolence as a
strategy for change; the debate over whether or not violence can be justified
to resist political and economic oppression in the Third World; and now, how to
counter the unimaginable violence of nuclear arms. All very serious and
pressing questions for us to ponder as Christians.”
She goes on, “Yet nowhere do I find
an attempt to theologize about the experience of personal violence in our lives
here and now, today. My hunch is that this is because most contemporary
American (male) theologians have never been mugged, have not been taught to
fear rape as a daily threat, and do not acknowledge the fact that 60 percent of
couples will experience physical violence at some point in their relationship
and that the family is the most violent institution in the United States. Thus,
for them violence is an academic, societal issue for debate, rather than a
personal human experience known to many in our society.” (pp. 67 - 68).
Well, having read that, and being
male, and living here in this granite castle with a tower, and never having
been mugged, I felt guilt. I felt that I don’t understand.
So I need to listen more, pray more,
theologize more. And hopefully, I will be more aware of domestic violence in
our land or better, in individuals here in our lives.
Then a sentence in Marie Fortune’s
sermon jumped off the page and into my brain. Perhaps it was because I was in a car
accident once where the windshield was smashed. She quotes a Marge Pierce who
describes the experience of rape this way, “There is no difference between
being raped and going head first through a windshield except that afterwards
you are afraid not of cars but half the human race.” (p.69)
I understand. Do I? Do I understand
you? Do you understand me? Do you understand what it is to be me? Do I
understand what it is to be you. To be standing up here on Good Friday and
babbling out words, when I rather be quiet and alone and have someone else
preach and hopefully reach me with a sentence or a story or two, so that I will
be closer to the person that I think my God wants me to be.
And In that loneliness, and in that
wanting to be alone, I sit under the twelfth station or in my room or in the
chapel here and look up at the cross and hopefully will hear from Jesus, “I
understand.” And hopefully, having been understood, I will understand others
better. And maybe someday, some Good Friday afternoon, I’ll be able to grasp a
little bit more what Jesus went through and I too will be able to say to him, “
Good afternoon. Good Friday. Thank
you for listening and for trying to understand some of things that I was trying
to say. Thank you.
O O O
Picture on top: Crucifix in St. Stephan's Church in Vienna, Austria.
Quote for Today - Good Friday - March 29, 2013 "Ever since I could remember I'd wished I'd be lucky enough to be alive at that great time - when something big was going on, like the Crucifixion. And suddenly I realized I was. Here I was living through another crucifixion. Here was something to paint." Ben Shahn [1898-1969] On painting a gouache: Bartolomeo Vanzetti and Nicola Sacco  To find out a lot about Sacco and Vanzetti type into Google, Sacco and Vanzetti and read from there. Fascinating ...
The title of my thoughts for this Holy Thursday morning is,
“Eucharist: Simple Logic.”
No bread; no wine; no Eucharist.
No Christ; no disciples; no Eucharist.
No slavery; no sin; no Exodus; no Escape from Egypt to the
Promised Land; no Passover; no reason for celebration: no Eucharist.
Christianity without Judaism before it and essential to it; no
No priests; no parish; no people; no faith; no hope; no charity;
It takes time to work the fields and work the vines to get
wheat and to get grapes. It takes work
and time - sweat and muscle - to make and bake bread - to crush and create and
come up with a great wine - from grapes.
Eucharist: Simple Logic.
It takes time and work to organize a great meal - to do the
shopping - to do the chopping - to set the tables - to prepare the lamb - to
prepare an inviting table and stage a delicious meal.
Eucharist: Simple Logic.
The reading we heard in this Holy Thursday Morning Prayer from Hebrews 2: 9b-10 - just now - told us that “because he suffered death”, Jesus
was crowned with glory and honor. The
reading we just heard from Hebrews
told us that Jesus tasted death - so that we could taste salvation. That night
- when he tasted the Passover Bread and Wine - looking ahead to the next day -
Good Friday - Jesus tasted death in that upper room; when we taste the bread and
the wine, we are tasting our life - birth till death - and hopefully our salvation
through the death of Jesus.
Eucharist: Simple Logic.
No pain, no gain. No cross, no crown. No suffering, no
resurrection. No Good Friday, no Easter Sunday.
Eucharist: Simple Logic.
This Passover Night, this Holy Thursday night, tonight - is different
from all other nights
This Holy Thursday night we are going to celebrate a Meal
that is different from all other meals and all other nights.
People gather in memory of others. People do things in
memory of others. Jesus gathered one last time - for one Last Supper - with his
disciples. We all remember people’s last words - last behaviors - last moments.
We all repeat, re-enact, remember - what others did for us.
We Christians do this - this week.
Why is this week different from all other weeks? This week -
this day - Holy Thursday - we remember to celebrate
Jesus’ Last Supper - which becomes the Eternal Banquet. This week - tomorrow - Good Friday - we celebrate Jesus’ Death on the Cross for our Redemption. This week - this
Sunday - Easter Sunday - we experience Christ’s resurrection from the Dead.
Alleluia. Alleluia. Alleluia - but not yet! Eucharist: Simple Logic.
Quote for Today - March 28, 2013 "Better is poverty in the hand of a god, Than wealth in a storehouse; Better is bread with a happy heart Than wealth with vexation." Amenomope [c. 11th Century B.C.] The Instruction of Amenemope, Chapter 6, translated by Miriam Lichtheim
The title of my homily for this Monday in Holy Week is,
“Sniff, Sniff, Scent, Scent, Hint, Hint.”
Could you all right now go, Sniff, Sniff? _____ Thank you.
God has blessed us with a nose - a gift - for our protection
and our safety.
As we age, we’re aware of the loss of some of our hearing
- but usually in those around us - more
As we age, we’re aware of the loss of some of our seeing
ability - usually more in ourselves than those around us.
I was wondering as I began working on this homily this morning: “What about our
sense of smell?”
I sense we’re more aware of size and shape of noses more
than the sense of smell - but I really am not too sure about all of this - because I never thought about this before - well maybe about gradual hearing loss in those around me.
Today’s readings use the image of scent. It can get us
thinking about air, breathing, the Spirit.
Today’s Gospel has the story of Mary - the sister of Martha and Lazarus - using a liter of costly perfume oil - made
from genuine aromatic nard. She anoints the feet of Jesus and dries his feet
with her hair.
You can almost smell the next line from the Gospel of John, “the house was
filled with the fragrance of the oil.” [12:3]
The title of my homily is, “Sniff, Sniff, Scent, Scent, Hint, Hint.”
If I were a perfume or an after shave lotion, what name would
I give myself?
If I were a perfume or an after shave lotion, what name would I give myself?
A Breath of Fresh Air,
If we were a scent, how would those who are in the rooms we
enter each day label us?
Would their labels for us be positive or negative?
If positive would they be one of those I already mentioned -
like “Joy” or “A Breath of Fresh Air?”
If negative would the scent I give off be called,
Today’s first reading - Isaiah 42: 1-7 - talks about God’s Servant?
It talks about having the Spirit of God.
It talks about bringing justice to the nations.
It talks about not crying, not shouting, not making noise.
It talks about opening eyes
It talks about bringing comfort to those who are imprisoned.
It talks about bringing light to those in darkness.
Now those are great strategies, methods, ways to become a
breath of fresh air, joy, to our world, how to become a welcoming sight in all the rooms we enter.
In today’s gospel - John 12: 1-11 - we have Mary, the sister
of Martha, bringing a sweet aroma to the whole house and we have Judas bringing
a negative scent and spin to the scene.
Judas says that the perfume is being wasted on Jesus and it could have been
sold and used for the poor. But John
tells us that’s a lie. Judas is being dishonest. He was stealing from the
group's money bag. I’ve often wondered what it was like to travel with Judas.
Was he Mister Negative? Was he a drain or a pain? Was he stale air? Was he a morose dark cloud that hung over the
whole group or was all that within and he never told anyone what he was really
The title of my homily was, “Sniff, Sniff, Scent, Scent,
Hint, Hint.” We can think about others, but the best thing to do would be to take some time to be with ourselves, and take a big sniff
of who we are? Sniff, Sniff, Scent, Scent, Hint, Hint.
I remember reading a quote from a writer named, “Ben Amin”
who talked about being, “The person whose perfume is Jesus”.
My grandfather was a centurion - in charge of a 100
He was stationed in Africa, Gaul and Israel.
In the evenings - after a little wine - he loved to tell
stories - about all the different places he was stationed - and all the
different things that he saw - as a soldier and then as a centurion in the
Now he told these stories over and over again - and I
noticed that nobody liked to listen to them. They heard them all before.
But I loved to hear my grandfather’s stories. Whenever it started to get dark and the
friends whom I was playing with in our garden behind our house - had to get
home, I loved to go over to where my grandpa was sitting and sit with him. It’s
one of the best memories a person can have - but they won’t know this till they
are old and he is gone - and now they are a grandfather or a grandmother.
My grandfather loved to look out into the western sky. He
loved to watch the sun setting. He loved to watch the dark night creep up the canvas
of the sky. Another day …..
I loved to look at his face - thanks to the light from an
oil lamp. I loved to wonder where he was and what story he was telling himself
at the moment. I’d love to say, “Grandpa
tell me one of your stories.”
The story that intrigued me the most was the story he told
about what happened one week - many years ago - in Palestine - in Israel - in
“One day,” that’s how he usually began, “One day there was
this rabbi - this teacher - who came into Jerusalem
on a donkey. Everyone was singing. Everyone was
praising him. I didn’t know who he was - but I knew he was well known
amongst the Jews. Some people seemed to like him; some seemed to be nervous
about him; some seemed to want him killed.
“Whatever. Our job was to be part of crowd control that day.
The only damage that could have happened was a fight or two erupting because
the crowds were cutting palm branches off other people’s trees and waving them
at this man on the donkey - or throwing them as well as their cloaks on the ground. I guess so his
donkey could have a soften step. Those stone steps on the way in and out and
all around Jerusalem
could be tough on one’s feet.
“This would probably be something I'd forget. However, I remember it because
a few days later some of these same people were screaming for the death of this
man who had arrived in town on a donkey. In fact when my boss Pilate asked the crowd if they wanted
this man or a well known thief and murderer named Barabbas killed, they screamed for
the release of Barabbas.
“Strange. I just couldn't understand what was going on. "In the meanwhile I was watching everything.
That was my job. That was why I was getting paid my pieces of silver.
“I heard from other soldiers that one of his disciples - Judas
- his own friend - betrayed him for 30 pieces of silver. I found out this man’s name was Jesus. He was
from Nazareth -
up in the north - not a bad place to be stationed. It’s cooler up there and
they have a lake there - which has had various names. It seems that big shots
like to have big spots named after them. In my time Roman soldiers in Palestine called it the Sea of Tiberius.
They better have called it that. It was renamed after the Roman emperor - Tiberius
“Anyway that night of his arrest some of our soldiers made
fun of this man named Jesus and some even beat him. They had heard he talked
about founding a kingdom, so they crowned him with thorns.
“The next day - the day Pilate offered the crazy crowd - the
choice of releasing Barabbas or Jesus - I was standing there - watching faces.
I saw a surprise, ‘What?’ in both the faces of Pilate and Barabbas - but
nothing going on in the face of Jesus - just blood - just a silent, battered face - of a desecrated human being.
“I began wondering, ‘Who is this man? Who is this Jesus?’
“It was my 100 men - who marched him to his execution on
Calvary - the place of death - just outside the city of Jerusalem.
“On the way to the cross - a cross which they made him carry
- I could see all kinds of faces. Some crying…. Some spitting …. Some screaming …. Some in shock…. Some
silent…. One his mother….
“’Who is this man?’ that became my constant question.
“I had seen death - executions - before - but this was
“We got him to Calvary. We
nailed him to a cross - along with two other criminals. We planted him in the
ground - and he hung there for a few hours and then he died.
“His disciples - had all fled. I know I would have. But his
mother was there. She wasn’t afraid - along with a few other women - and
someone named John. I heard he was very close to Jesus.
“Anyway it got dark - like the evening sky - but it was
still early afternoon. I always think of that day as I watch the sun set every
“It was a scene of horror - like any execution.
“That day - that Jesus - that wounded man on the cross -
said some powerful things from that cross. The one that grabbed me was his
forgiveness to us who were doing this. I didn’t understand that at the time -
but I have understood it ever since.
“Then my grandfather said to me, ‘When you get to be an old
man like me - you’ll look back on your life - and if you have done the things I
have done, you’ll need to know forgiveness is possible.
He paused and then said, “I tasted it that dark afternoon -
and I’ve tasted it ever since - just remembering that moment.’
“He promised one of the other thieves who died on a cross
near him that day - he promised him - ‘Today you’ll be with me in paradise.’
I’ve often wondered what that meant. I’ve often wondered what that meant’.
“The weather got worse. Thunder and lightning had some of
the few folks there running for the way back to the city. I guess the skies
wanted to wash with rain - the blood of this man - that could be seen on those
stones on that same way to the cross to this place called Calvary.
“I figured I had to say something. So I said, “This man was
innocent beyond all doubt.’
“But I don’t know if anyone heard me …. but I heard me.”
My grandfather was a centurion. He died as grandfathers do -
but of all the stories he told me, I remembered that story the most.
Years later I told some Christians that story my grandfather
Surprise those words my grandfather said that day made it
into print - in the Gospel of Luke, “This man was innocent beyond all doubt”
but I also heard there’s another version in a Gospel story by a man named Mark,
“Truly this man was the Son of God.”
As I said my grandfather told many stories - and he often
repeated himself - so maybe he had many versions of what he said that day -
don’t we all? Don’t we all?