(February 9)

And they brought him to the place called Golgotha (which means the place of a skull). And they offered him wine mingled with myrrh; but he did not take it. And they crucified him, and divided his garments among them, casting lots for them, to decide what each should take.” (Mk 15: 22-24)

Each of the four soldiers who crucified our Lord “won” a piece of His garments for himself. And Christ let them “win” in this way, as He knew they would, as was revealed in an ancient prophecy found in Psalm 21/22: “They have divided my garments amongst themselves, and for my clothing have they cast lots.” (Ps 21/22: 18) So, these soldiers got to be clothed in Christ’s garments, and He let them do that.

Why? So that we, who choose to surrender to Him, rather than “win” over Him, can be “clothed” not merely in garments but in Him, in His very Body: “For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.” (Gal 3: 27) In Baptism, God no longer clothes us (only) in “garments of skin,” as He lovingly did for us in our fallen state (Gen 3: 21), ever since we chose to burden ourselves with the painful self-awareness that comes from eating of “the tree of knowledge of good and evil.” Those garments are just a “band-aid” to help us deal with that self-awareness, while we are still works-in-progress on our cross-carrying journeys. But our new “clothing” is not in the old Adam but in Christ, Who is clothed in “majesty” or “beauty” (εὐπρέπειαν ἐνεδύσατο, в лéпоту облечеся, Ps 92/93: 1).

Today let me let Christ clothe me His way, and make me beautiful again, in Him. Let me embrace Him, as He embraces me and all of us, with His hands outstretched on the Cross. “Remember me, Lord, when You come into Your kingdom!” (Lk 23: 42)