From Fr. Nick Kotsis - "Today is hung upon the Cross He Who suspended the earth upon the waters." Today we remember Jesus being nailed to the Cross. His sacrifice was done once and for all. But in some ways, His crucifixions continue.
I use the plural “crucifixions” purposely. We all know that Christ was crucified but once. We all bear the image of Christ. All to often, we allow ourselves to drive nails into the hearts and souls of our brothers and sisters when mercy and love are what are required and needed. In that way, we continue “crucifixions” of the “images” of Christ when we refuse to relent on our acts wickedness, our desire for vengeance, and our thirst for a “pound of flesh.”
As we gaze upon the icon of the Crucifixion, how can we possibly think anything negative, anything scandalous, anything unjust about another human being? Even, and especially, if they have sinned against us, our only action that can be taken from the icon of the Crucifixion is an embrace of that person.
In the 7th Gospel reading from the Holy Unction Service, we hear this crucial line “But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice’ For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” (Mt 9:13, quoting Hosea 6:6) When Christ stretched out His arms on the Cross, He did it as an embrace of all of us sinners. His sacrifice was the last sacrifice necessary. Our job is to embrace one another so that on Pascha, we can say with clear consciences and pure hearts, “It is the Day of Resurrection. Let us be glorious in the splendor of the festival, and let us embrace one another. Let us speak also, brethren, to those that hate us, and in the Resurrection, let us forgive all things, and so let us cry, Christ is Risen from the dead, by death trampling upon death, and to those in the tombs granting life.” Amen!