Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The Crossroads of Hell (Age of Ultron)

you'll come to a complete dead end...

If you're lucky you'll come to a crossroads
and see that the path to the left leads to hell...

The path to the right leads to hell...

The road straight ahead leads to hell

and that if you try to turn around
you'll end up in complete and utter hell.

Every way leads to hell

and there's no way out,

nothing left for you to do."

The Age of Ultron brings Hell to earth. We're tortured and helpless. Our greatest heroes, Iron Man, Captain America, Spider-Man, and even Hulk, are crushed by this automaton.

The world, as we knew it, is over.

Joy, hope, and faith remain only as distant memories.

It didn't matter how strong we were.

It didn't matter how smart we were.

It didn't matter how quick or cunning we were.

It didn't even matter how courageous and dedicated we were.

Nothing we could have ever done would have mattered.

We were defeated.

And, surely, we too will perish.

This is where the disciples were on Resurrection Day. They had given everything they could. They had given up their lives and their livelihoods; their homes and their families; their wealth and their dreams.

All that they knew was to follow Jesus. They knew Him to be the Rabbi, the Messiah, their Lord. They trusted Him with everything, and they lost everything else in the process.

They would have died for that man. He was their King of Kings.

But, they never expected Him to die for them.

Now, they find themselves at a crossroads. They're sick and tired. They just want to be left alone. They are broken and weak. They don't know how they can go on, if indeed they can.

Every direction they look seems like Hell, without Christ.

Everything they had ever done seemed pointless without their leader. He was either the Messiah or he had lied and failed. His kingdom hadn't been established on earth. So, that left them with only one other option.

They might as well stay locked up in that small room forever.

Imagine the horror, when they found out that the tomb was empty.

After killing their beloved teacher, he wasn't even left to rest in peace.

This was the end of their world.

But, although the words seemed like an idle tale, Peter still got up. He rushed to the scene of the tomb.

It was empty.

Still, the linen cloths remained. Jesus had not been carried out by someone else. Surely, they would have left him covered.

Peter "went home marveling at what had happened."

There was still that small, slight glimmer of hope. The question played with all of their minds, "What does this mean?!?"

This brings back to memory the statement of amazement and wonder that the centurion had proclaimed at the cross, "Truly this was the Son of God!"

They began to think, even in this place, there must be hope.

This is where we find ourselves today. Lost. Hopeless. Damned. We know that what little good we may ever do cannot amount to much, especially in the long run... especially concerning eternity.

We want to stay locked up, left alone to our sorrow and woe. We can't save ourselves. We might as well give up hope.

Don't you remember what happens next???

There, in the midst of them, appears the Risen Lord.

It was not what anyone had done. It was not through the disciples' weak hope or their merit in rushing out to the tomb. It wasn't in their faith or adoration. It wasn't up to them at all. Concerning eternity, it could never have been left up to them.

Something timeless had to be beaten by someOne timeless.

Here, as He had done so many times before, Jesus comes to them. God, who had become incarnate, who had grown up, who had walked out to find them and gather them at the beginning of His ministry, the one who had come to them to teach them, to serve them, to save them, the one who had delivered himself upon a cross, comes once again.

He comes to remind them... He had been telling them this whole time, but now they see so that they may finally understand.

"These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled."

"The Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem."

"You are witnesses of these things."

All we can do is watch, believe, and proclaim.

"Why are you troubled..."

"Why do doubts arise in your hearts?"

He has come again to make sure we know.

There is joy, there is hope, there is faith. But, these things can never be properly placed in anything of this world. There is only one limitless source for our limitless praise. That is in Christ, the Lord, Himself.

It is only because of Him that our strength, our smarts, our cunning and quickness, our courage and dedication, our all can ever matter. It is because He works through us. He directs us so that we may live out our vocations. It can never be about what we do. But, it is about what He has done and continues to do through us.

And, He is still present here with us. His Spirit dwells within us, at Baptism his faith is poured out upon us, and at Communion He personally restores us.

He meets us at the crossroads and shows us a way that we would never had seen otherwise. While the signs all point to Hell, He stands there, pointing yet another way, the way through Him, the way to Heaven.

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