|The Statue of Ecce Homo in Procession|
In the rest of the Latin Rite, today is the V Sunday after Easter, but on this blog, we are celebrating our titular feast. You can read the story of our titular devotion, as well as see pictures and video using the links in the blog's header.
Today we celebrate the Bridegroom with no Bride. He offers Himself for the sake of His Bride the Church, that the Father might use Him to sanctify His Bride, but His Bride is no where to be found. He goes to the Altar of the Cross alone, abandoned, and rejected. She has run away into a life of sin and emotional pleasure. The Nymphios (Bridegroom) has been abandoned by His Bride. Even Peter himself has denied Christ three times. It is Her sins that pierce Him like a thousand needles on His Head. His scepter, His symbol of authority over Her, as Her Head, is become a symbol of mockery and rejection. However, the more His torture pierces Him, the more He persists in His sacrifice.
This is a radical contradiction to the way the world "loves". She hurts Him with her life of sin, living as if He doesn't even exist, but He does not give up on Her or run away with someone else or whatever. He responds to Her actions against Him by sacrificing Himself for Her conversion. "Instead of making me a return of love, they detracted me: but I gave myself to prayer." (Ps 108:4) When She loves Him least, that is when He must love Her most. She made Herself His enemy, so He came down from Heaven and declared, "Love your enemies". (Mt 5:44) Love is relentless. Love does not count the cost. Love will not stop until the beloved is in Heaven and it does not matter how hard or impossible of a task that is, or how many people or who is against you, or how much you have to destroy yourself-the beloved is going to Heaven and that's all there is to it. "Put me as a seal upon thy heart, as a seal upon thy arm, for love is strong as death, jealousy as hard as hell, the lamps thereof are fire and flames. Many waters cannot quench charity, neither can the floods drown it: if a man should give all the substance of his house for love, he shall despise it as nothing." (Cant. 8:6-7)
Christ gave Himself through complete mockery and complete rejection and complete torture to clean His Bride of Her sins and bring Her back as His lost sheep. The dead are not supposed to come back to life. Death is forever. Once you're dead; you're dead and that's all there is to it. Christ is risen from the dead, conquering death by death and to those in the tombs bestowing life. The Bride is only living Her life insofar as She is living in the Bridegroom, for He is Life. (Jn 14:6) When Life Himself passed through death, He destroyed death. Love destroys everything contrary to itself because it does not relent and is obsessed with saving the beloved-even to the point of complete sacrifice of self to accomplish the task. Christ is so obsessed with getting His Bride to Heaven, that He gives His Very Self to be used to sanctify Her and gives Her His Very Body, which She receives in the Eucharist. The Eucharist is the intimacy between Christ and His Bride. The Eucharist is the Sacrifice of Calvary, the sacrifice of the Bridegroom for His Bride, and when She receives Him in the Eucharist and receives life from Life Himself, that is when the sacrifice is worth it. It's all about Her. It's all about getting Her into the deepest recesses of His Heart unto the ages of ages. Amen.