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The Somerset Guardian, 27th March 2024

The three days of Easter reveal the true nature of Christ. On Good Friday it is his manhood that is most apparent. Physically he was no stronger than anyone else, beaten, broken and ultimately dying. As Aquinas wrote in his famous hymn ‘Adoro Te Devote’, the divinity of Christ was hidden on the Cross.

This humanity has, since early times, inspired a great devotion to the five wounds of Christ. The four nails that pierced his hands and feet as well as the Spear of Longinus that cut through his side. The torture and suffering Christ endured from his arrest in the Garden of Gethsemane to his death on the Cross proved that he was a man. He had not, as God, just taken on the appearance of man as a pagan god might have been thought to do, he was truly as us. It is only in this way that he could have taken responsibility for our sins which, again as Aquinas wrote, are washed away by one drop of his blood.

Christ even in his physical, human agony was strong enough psychologically to maintain his faith in the mission the Father had given him. He forgave those who wronged him: ‘Father forgive them for they know not what they do’ and he was concerned enough for his mother to commend her to the care of his beloved disciple, St. John, who from that hour took her to his own home. He was human in his thoughts as well as in his suffering.

Then the mortal body yielded up the ghost when all was accomplished. An execution that could not be survived but one where God could not be killed. So on the third day he rose again. A physical, real resurrection without which, as St. Paul says, all our faith is in vain. God was displayed through the resurrection of a man with the wounds still visible and touchable as St. Thomas proved. In those three days all that Christians believe was shown with the clarity that the apostles were willing to die for, truly both Man and God and our Saviour.

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