The Gospel Truth

The Missed Message of Calvery | May 2, 2011

On the opening night of my parish’s Lenten Mission, the visiting priest asked us, what was Jesus’ ‘best’ homily?

His Sermon on the Mount or quite possibly the Last Supper immediately came to mind.

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His best sermon?

While he said both were excellent answers, there was something much better.

A priest for 40 years, he had only recognized Jesus’ “best sermon” 10 years ago.

Before answering his question, he talked on the beauties and importance of the many walks in life, from the graduation walk, the walk down the aisle on a wedding day to the leisure stroll with friends and family.

walking down the aisle as mr and mrs cory cates

A very important walk

Father said Jesus’ best homily depicted the most important walk in the history of the world and it was on the walls of every church he had ever walked into—the Stations of the Cross.

In meditating on the stations, Father found that they were a microcosm of the Catholic faith. And every time he looked at that walk on the wall it if was as if Jesus was saying to him, Come Follow Me.” (Mark 1:17)

The first lesson is that we must stop judging people for what they have and who they are because we are all God’s children.

On His second stop Jesus is telling us to stop our complaining.  Jesus was innocent of any wrongdoing and yet He was tortured and sentenced to death but never complained.

At stops three, seven and nine Jesus falls to the ground but despite His pain and suffering He got up again—He never quit…  In the battles of the flesh and the spirit, we must never give up.

The Passion of the Christ (2004). Trailer. Imdb. Watch it! (aramaic, latin & hebrew with spanish subtitles).

He never gave up

In the middle of His walk, Simon of Cyrene was enlisted to help Jesus carry His burden.

Similarly, many of us have been called as caregivers and helpers to ease the burdens of those close to us who may have a difficult time carrying their crosses of disease, old age or personal affliction.

Jim Caviezel in The Passion of the Christ by Mel Gibson

Simon eased His burden

At stops four, sixth and eight, Jesus had sound advice for a world that preaches that happiness can only be found only where there is no pain or suffering.

Jesus’ touching encounter with Mary, who found immense joy within the pangs of the suffering of childbirth, echoing the profound words of St. James’ Epistle, Count it all joy my brethren, when you meet various trials for you know that the testing of your faith, produces steadfastness. (Jas.1: 2-3)

To the compassionate Veronica He leaves His image in blood and sweat that she would joyously treasure forever.

To the women of Jerusalem, His message was for them to stop their weeping over His suffering but focus on their children because children who bring joy, laughter and renew the spirit of life.

At the 10th stations Jesus tells us to love the material things of the world but don’t make them the center of your being.

At the next stop Jesus talks about pain.  Father said everyone is handicapped in some way.  Jesus never complained during His long ordeal.  He offered it up to His Father for us.

Jesus also invites us to join Him in the cross of suffering, not because suffering is wonderful but by offering up our pains and suffering for others they will serve as a vehicle of His healing grace.

Before we can finish our walk we must let go of our bitterness, grudges and forgive those who have wronged us.

While Jesus’ walk was to His death on the Cross our walk is a way to life eternal.

Next time you go into a Church, take a few moment to “listen” to His best homily.

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An open invitation

I wonder how many Catholics just don’t get it.  I mean understand the beauty of our common faith.

How many listen more to the anchors on commercial TV or NPR radio for their truth.

I was in a parking lot at the Jewish Community Center a few weeks ago and I saw a confusing bumper sticker.

This one said:  I am against the death penalty.

Ok, so what—that’s your prerogative.

But it was the following proof that nearly knocked me over.

Look what it did to Jesus!

Wow what a revelation.

The death penalty killed Christ and not His own people, who rejected everything He stood for fear of their loss of power.

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A victim of the Death Penalty?

For an interesting analogy, just what the fear of a similar loss of power has done to Democrats all over the country.

I would love to have asked the auto owner, where would we all be had Jesus not lost His life on the Cross?

Would man’s salvation had been achieved had Jesus died by a drive-by-shooting or died of cardiac arrest at the age of 65?

These are all questions that we should ponder right after the anniversary of His supreme sacrifice, which I might point out is reenacted each day in every Catholic Church around the world.

I invite your comments on the ideas I have expressed here.

P.S. To be fair our own Catholic Newspaper, the St. Louis Review published an atrocious cartoon of Jesus hanging on the Cross with the caption that read: This is what the death penalty did!

So even our own publisher and editor entirely missed the message of Jesus’ long walk to Calvary.

AS A FOOTNOTE, I SUBMITTED THIS ONE TO THE REVIEW AS A ‘GUEST COLUMNIST’—I USED TO BE A REGULAR—AND UNFORTUNATELY IS WAS NOT USED.  SO I HOPE YOU WILL BENEFIT FROM WHAT THE CATHOLIC PUBLIC WAS DENIED AND PLEASE PASS IT ON TO ALL YOUR CATHOLIC AND NOT-SO CATHOLIC FRIENDS.  I BELIEVE IT HAS A UNIVERSAL MESSAGE.

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6 Comments »

  1. DEAR BILL: YOUR RECENT EMAIL PERTAING TO THE STATIONS OF THE CROSS MUST OF IMPRESSED YOU.. HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN ATTENDING THIS NEW CHURCH? IVE SENT YOU EMAILS,AND A GOOD CASTHOLIC PAPER,AND YOU STILL DONT GET IT..DID IT TAKE A NOVUS ORDER PRIEST TO REMIND YOU OF THE STATIONS,WHICH SHOULD BE SAID EVERY FRIDAY OF THE YEAR..OH THE JOY WHEN SAID FREQUENTLY,AND I DONT NEED A PRIEST TO REMIND ME EITHER.. GET WITH IT BILL,GET TRADITIONAL AND ATTEND THE TRUE MASS..YOUR ATTENDENCE AT THESE PROTASTANT -MASONIC SERVICES {NONUS ORDER} IS NOT GOING TO CUT IT WILLIAM. JUST LIKE CHEERING FOR THE BROWNS..HAPPY EASTER,MY PRAYERS ARE WITH YOU…

    Comment by joseph viola — May 3, 2011 @ 6:00 am

  2. Dear Bill,
    I really enjoyed this e-mail, and your interpretation of the Stations of the Cross. I sent it to quite a few people, and the only one who responded said, “This is so what I need. Thank you.” Joseph wasn’t very nice to you, and he doesn’t know how to spell Catholic. Happy Easter to you and Judy.

    Comment by Eloise Moran — May 3, 2011 @ 11:06 pm

  3. Dear Bill; We sure missed you during this period.
    St.Louis Review? What is it?
    Traditional Catholics Catholics today are at the disposal of the Progressive “Catholics” who seem to dominate the Church.
    It is disturbing, after Communion at Mass, we hear announcements and commercials before the final Blessings….Is it all about Money? Is any sign of Holiness and Prayer at Mass a distraction for the Progressives?? Today it is very evident that more the half the Catholics at Mass have no idea of what is going on in the Mass. Reading the remarks of Catholics and religious regarding the Mass changes, it indicates another wave of Catholics leaving the Church for a more “friendly” religious Service.
    Your “many walks of life” is one of he best Easter sermons….we do witness these walks every day, if we could only recognize them.

    Comment by Jim — May 4, 2011 @ 6:39 pm

  4. Dear Jim:

    Thank you so much for the kind words. Funny you are a traditional catholic and you found no harm in what I wrote. See Joseph above to try to fathom what I said that made him respond that way. I really can’t figure it out. BB

    Comment by bbprof — May 4, 2011 @ 7:35 pm

  5. Dear Joseph:

    I really don’t understand where you are coming from. What you imply is that the universal Church has been part of a vast religious or maybe anti-religious conspiracy to undermine the beliefs of over a billion human beings. I know a lot of priests, bishops an archbishop and two cardinals and I can not…nor will I believe they are all part of this VARC.

    From what you imply I have to think that you have become a Sedevacanist and do not recognize any pope since Pius XII. That’s a tall order in itself.

    Also in the same vein I did attend a beautiful Latin Mass downtown about 10 years ago. It was truly uplifting and I do miss it but I was totally put off by the arogant attitude of some of the parishioners I met after. This one fellow was the most unChristian catholic I had met in a long time..especially when I tried to explain the baptisms of desire and blood…which i learned in high school in 1959, well before Vatican II. I would caution you against pride which seems evident in a lot of these attitudes that seem to put one’s own thinking above that of thousands and thousands of people who know God and the Church better than either you or I. I will pray for you as well. BB

    Comment by bbprof — May 4, 2011 @ 7:42 pm

  6. A solid post, Pop. Interesting. I learned much. Take care, and I look forward to seeing you and the fam this Friday.

    Comment by Matt — May 5, 2011 @ 2:12 am


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About author

After graduating from Holy Cross, Bill Borst earned an MA in Asian History from St. John's University and a Ph.D in American History from St. Louis University. (1972) A former New Yorker, he taught for many years in the St. Louis area, while also hosting a weekly radio show on WGNU from 1984-2006. He currently is a regular substitute for conservative Phyllis Schlafly on KSIV radio. (1320) He is the author of two books on social history, "Liberalism: Fatal Consequences," and "The Scorpion and the Frog: A Natural Conspiracy." He just retired as the Features editor of the Mindszenty Foundation Monthly Report. In his 11 years from 2003-2013 he wrote nearly 130 essays on Catholic culture and world affairs. Many in St. Louis also know him as the "Baseball Professor," because of a course that he offered at Maryville College from 1973-74. It was arguably the first fully-accredited baseball history course in the Midwest.The author of several short books on the old St. Louis Browns, he started the St. Louis Browns Historical Society in 1984. In 2009 his first two plays were produced on the local stage. "The Last Memory of an Ol' Brownie Fan," ran six performances at the Sound Stage in Crestwood and "A Perfect Choice" ran for two performances at the Rigali Center Theater in Shrewsberry. His third play, "A Moment of Grace," ran six performances at DeSmet High School in January of 2011with First Run Theater in January of 2011. He is currently working on a 4th play, "A Family Way," which is a comedy about a happy dysfunctional family. He can reached at bbprof@sbcglobal.net

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