First Meditation for the Third Week of Lent

Crucifixion. Paolo Veronese, 1582

For the men of our times – and not a few Catholics – Golgotha is as relevant as the Edsel. A quaint curiosity for a simpler time, but of no significant to men of the microchip. A friend was in a jewelry shop recently, and overheard a young lady ask for a necklace. One of the ones she was shown had a crucifix. It prompted the young lady to query: “Who is the funny little man hanging on the bars?” Indeed.

Lent is a potent moment for the Church to remind us that this indifference to Golgotha creeps up upon all of us. Given an easier way out, most men jump at it. I am no exception – neither are you. This is what Flannery O’Connor called in her novels, Christianity Without Christ. It is the attraction of the “merciful Christ” who retails a no-fault Christianity. This is the faux Christianity that proclaims, ‘feed the poor’, but leaves your soul to rot. 

Our Savior is only met on Golgotha. Climbing up there with Him is never palatable, especially with the persistent tug of concupiscence. This age only magnifies our resistance. Lent is a grace from God to rearm ourselves against passivity to the culture, and those voices in the Church who preach a Christ comfortable with sin. Lent focuses our eyes upon Christ Crucified as our sole hope, our sole logic, our only Redemption. Beware – no, be terrified – of the impostors.

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