• Sarah Raad


Christ was the Poorest of the Poor. For Shame!

Jesus is stripped of His garments (Theophile Lybaert)

Today is the most solemn of Holy Feasts. Though the secular world celebrates Christmas with great gusto, it is Good Friday for which Christ was born! For Christ chose life so that He could experience death.

It is His death that we remember at His birth.

There is great mystery in this death of God who created the universe and who – through the mystery of the Most Blessed Trinity – allowed Himself to become so weakened that he was strung up on a tree and executed in the method of execution usually reserved for slaves.

On this most HOLY day we remember that God died. FOR US…

Christ was born into the world naked and alone. How God the Father and the Holy Spirit must have suffered at this birth… For Christ’s sacrifice began from the moment of His conception and God knew what was to come.

God the Son was born in a stable and placed into a manger – where the animals eat.

I have reflected on the reality of this often. I visited the Easter Show the other day. I walked through the animal enclosure. I saw the prize bulls and cows and sheep and goats. They are impressive creatures.

But they smell and they are not clean.

I look at my newest little niece and I think of my own children. I remember when I had my first child after the doctor told me to breast feed him, I asked whether need to clean myself in some way first before I touched that child. I was obviously a very ignorant and insecure mother! But my point is… I really worried about my child.

Our Blessed Mother fed her child – God of the Universe – among the droppings of the stable.

She slept him where the animals ate and dribbled and fed and it was not clean. She and Saint Joseph would have cleaned it, but still it was not clean.

When my children were very young we often slept with the air conditioner on all night because we worried that they might get cold in their sleep. Our Blessed Mother placed her newborn baby in a manger and slept in a stable. Was there even a proper door? When it rained, did it leak? Did the dust blow over His Holy Face from within the cracks in the walls while He slept during the night? Did the wind chill Him?

Our God – Creator of the Universe – was born into poverty. He was poor.

And when He died, there were none poorer than He…

When we pray the Stations of the Cross, we reflect – during the Tenth Station – on the INDIGNITY of Christ being stripped of His garments – “When they had crucified Him, they divided up His garments by casting lots.” (Matthew 27:35). Not even the clothes on His back were His in the end. They were taken for sport by His captors – they are taken for sport by me every single time I sin…

It is me who strips Him bare!

For shame. For shame. For shame.

Saint Pope John Paul II said… “…How poor she was on Bethlehem night and how poor on Calvary! How obedient she was at the moment of the Annunciation, and then – at the foot of the cross – obedient even to the point of assenting to the death of her Son, who became obedient ‘unto death’! How dedicated she was in all her earthly life to the cause of the kingdom of Heaven...”.

And so it was, that our God – who is the Almighty Creator of the Universe – died as naked as the day on which he was born. And when he was handed back to His blessed Mother after death, she had not even His clothes to place upon Him.

And so – being obedient to the Will of God – she wrapped Him in linens and placed Him in someone else’s tomb, just as she had wrapped Him in swaddling clothes and placed Him in someone else’s manger, thirty-three years before.

What utter POVERTY!

For shame. For Shame. For Shame…

For with sorrow, I stand on Holy Ground where everything is clear. Here. At the Foot of the Cross.

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