Rev Ted Baenziger, CSB
St Basil Chapel, University of ST Thomas Houston
Let up pick up the drama from the moment Jesus talks with his mother.
- “Woman, behold your son.”
- “I am thirsty.”
- "It is finished"
Handing over his spirit, to us, to the church is about to be born from his side. His spirit is holy, the most holy one. He comes to God the Father (the handing over is to him), and he sends that spirit, the advocate, to all in the church. The piercing of Jesus' side prefigures the Sacraments of Eucharist (blood) and Baptism (water), as well as the beginning of the Church. Origen wrote "Christ has flooded the universe with divine and sanctifying waves. For the thirsty he sends a spring of living water from the wound which the spear opened in His Side. From the wound in Christ's side has come forth the Church, and He has made her His Bride."
The great Western Bishop, St Augustine wrote "There it was that the gate of life was opened, from there the sacraments of the Church flow; without these one does not enter true life."
Today as we contemplate the Passion we also plumb the mystery and meaning of the Church. We are members of His Body. She was born from the wounded side of the Savior. He betroths her in His great self-emptying on the Altar of the Cross. Through her Sacraments, Jesus, the head of the Body, continues to feed us all with the divine life we need to enter more fully into the new communion which is ours through this saving Paschal mystery. This nascent church is not yet formed except in death. All the mysteries of sacrament and salvation through Christ the victim are present here, and thus we celebrate Pentecost right now in the adoration of the cross, for this is the birth of the church, just as the resurrection (handing over his spirit) is in the act of dying.
It is now time for our prayers of petition to go to the Father through the crucified and living Christ, so that, through the Holy Spirit, God may renew the face of the earth.