Tue, 20 Feb 2018 09:13:34 +0000

By Andrew B.C. Njovu

THE Lenten season or  Easter period as it is commonly known is with us again. We Catholics and other Christian denominations will be conducting every Friday  what we call “ the way of the Cross prayers”  during which we remember the agony and suffering Jesus Christ went through on his way to Calvary, on our behalf.

Prophet Isaiah puts it so clearly in 53: 4-6 and he says:  “Surely, he has borne our grief and carried our sorrows. Yet we esteemed Him stricken. Smitten by God and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions. He was bruised for our iniquities. The chastisement for our peace was upon Him. And by His stripes we are healed.  All we, like sheep have gone astray. We have turned every one, to his own way.”

Prophet Isaiah proclaimed  these words thousands of years  before Christ came and Jesus Himself was later to acknowledge  that the words  by Isaiah  were a direct reference to  his crucifixion. Luke 22 v37.

Why are we Catholics and other denominations so much attached to the Cross of Jesus Christ?

The answer is simple. Jesus did not defeat the devil with bows and arrows. No. He defeated the devil and death at Mount Calvary on the Cross.

That is why, if there is anything that the devil hates to see, it is the Cross, because that is where he was defeated by Jesus. Jesus told Peter “Put your sword aside, because those who live by the sword shall die by the sword” MT 26 V 53.

In John 18 v 11 it says “So Jesus said to Peter “Put your sword into the sheath, shall I  not drink the cup which my father has given to Me?   So, it is our belief as Catholics that without the Cross, there would be no salvation for mankind.

We owe our salvation to Jesus at Mount Calvary, where He cried and said:  “it is finished.”

John 19 v 30:  The battle against the devil and powers of darkness had been won and finished, and this was at Mount Calvary.  So Mount Calvary is a centre of our salvation because that is where the defeat of the devil took place.

Just as the Israelites’ were very attached to the Ark of God, so are we Catholics attached to the Cross of Jesus Christ.  The authorised and revised  version  use the term “ARK”  in  three different senses.

It is applied to the boat which Noah built. It is also applied to the basket in which the child Moses was hidden. And it is used to apply to the sacred box or chest carried by the Israelites in  the wilderness  and later deposited in the  Temple.

It is not known when this ARK disappeared, but it certainly did not survive the destruction of Jerusalem and the Exile. It was later assumed to have had a golden  top surmounted by winged cherub and to have contained the two tables of  the Commandments and Aaron’s rod.

The original ark was, no doubt, a simple affair but of immense  religious significance  to Israel, because it was the visible symbol of the  invisible God of Israel  with His people. The ark was popularly  supposed to have  magical powers and  because of  that belief, it was on several occasions  carried into battle, as if the presence and help of God could be compelled by the use of the ark..

It came to be called the ark of the covenant; as such it was no magical object but a symbol and reminder of the grace of God  to Israel in the covenant He had made at  Sinai and of the loyalty due as Israel in the covenant He had  made at  Sinai and the loyalty due as Israel’s response.

To the Israelites this is was not just a tradition to be remembered but these were religious occasions of great significance to them. In the same manner,  the “way of the Cross’ every Friday,  which we Catholics conduct,  during the Easter period  are very important to our Christian faith and every Christian is urged to participate in these  prayers.

Regrettably, very few Catholics participate in these prayers on Fridays. Please let us change our attitudes and participate in these Friday prayers.

The author is member of the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP) at St Annie Parish, Kasama archdiocese. Email : walkingsafari20-15@; cell; 0964691749, 0961835055

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