Maria Kozakiewicz

WORD MADE FLESH

29th Sunday in Ordinary Time – October 18, 2015
Isaiah 53.4,10-11 | Psalm 33 | Hebrews 4.14-16 Mark 10.35-45
October 12, 2015

I have a little crucifix on the wall above my desk. Nothing much, some 15 cm high and made of plastic. I found it on a top shelf at a Goodwill store, where odd figurines, strangely shaped cups and plaster Christmas trees await an interested eye.

The crucifix was almost invisible, as it lay flat between a large, colourful merry-go-round and a statuette of a wizard holding a glass bowl.

I have seen many crucifixes in museums, churches and people's homes - some well-known for their exquisite workmanship, others for miraculous events that surrounded them over history.

One of the medieval crucifixes I have seen has Jesus' face full of sadness on the left side and full of joy on the right one. It is expressionless from front as if Jesus wanted to keep the mystery of his sadness and joy to himself and the interested party. Sadness at the rejection by Bad Thief and joy at the salvation of the Good Thief hanging on the right.

The Son of Man came not to be served, but to serve. - Mark 10.45

'The Son of Man came not to be served, but to serve.'

Mark 10.45

My small cross with Jesus on it is not a great work of art, although it may be a distant copy of some well-known artist's work. It has a message perhaps just for me.

How do I describe it? It is gentle and discreet, even in the expressed suffering. The head is hanging down so low you cannot see the face.

The slim arms seem to cling to the arms of the cross rather than try to tear themselves from them. Gently bent legs are not contorted with pain, they are resting obediently on the small support. There is a great sense of obedience and innocence emanating from the Man on the cross.

You are looking at a true evangelical child performing an incredibly difficult task for his beloved father - and you. Two fingers of the left hand are extended, with three bent inward, towards the nail.

It is a statement of Jesus: I am fully man, your brother and fully God. God on the cross.

With its complete lack of theatrical or even artistic effects, the crucifix inspires hope and trust and also a kind of nascent love. When you look at it, you think less about your own sins or the fact that you are rejected by those whose love you crave so. All this becomes unimportant. Instead, you think about Jesus and you instinctively want to be like him, or at least beside him, somewhere close.

CAME TO SERVE

You also begin to understand that "the Son of Man came to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many."

The solemn words, so many times heard in church, so often discussed in homilies, and yet always "too great" to be truly comprehended, suddenly begin to feel natural, a profound truth yet to be accepted simply in a childlike way.

As I contemplate the serene figure of Jesus on this small plastic cross, various piece s of the difficult theological puzzles fall in places, too.

Yes, Jesus genuinely wanted to serve us. In his case it was to suffer and to die a victim, as expiation for our sins. And yes, Jesus wants us to serve others. To serve our brothers and sisters means to be a bit like him. It is a sign of spiritual growth. Whoever gave this little crucifix to Goodwill - thank you ! I will treasure it until the day I die.