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Christ’s burial cloths send a message to those who see

Posted By April 4, 2013 | 12:50 pm | Lead Story #3
“The shroud accepted the dead body of Jesus, and gave it back to us alive.” Donald H. Nohs was speaking about one of the cloths he maintains were in Christ’s tomb. The Associate General Director of the Confraternity of the Passion International, a lay organization affiliated with the Passionists, spoke before Lent in St. George Church in Worcester. His presentation could be used as a preparation for Holy Week. Or a celebration of Easter – and beyond.

By  Tanya Connor

“The shroud accepted the dead body of Jesus, and gave it back to us alive.”
Donald H. Nohs was speaking about one of the cloths he maintains were in Christ’s tomb.
The Associate General Director of the Confraternity of the Passion International, a lay organization affiliated with the Passionists, spoke before Lent in St. George Church in Worcester. His presentation could be used as a preparation for Holy Week. Or a celebration of Easter – and beyond.
He showed a replica and a negative of the Shroud of Turin and a whip, spear and nails like those likely used on Christ, and invited listeners to venerate special items.
“Then venerate the Eucharist – Jesus is here,” he said, in reference to the reserved Blessed Sacrament. He said he prayed that “we enter a deeper relationship with Jesus, personally and in the sacraments.”
Mr. Nohs spoke about the account of Christ’s burial cloths in the Gospel of John.
Mary of Magdala told Peter and “the other disciple whom Jesus loved,” often thought to be John, that Jesus was taken from the tomb.
“So Peter and the other disciple … ran, but the other disciple ran faster … and arrived at the tomb first; he bent down and saw the burial cloths there, but did not go in.
“When Simon Peter arrived … he went into the tomb and saw the burial cloths there, and the cloth that had covered his head, not with the burial cloths but rolled up in a separate place. Then the other disciple also went in … and he saw and believed. For they did not yet understand the scripture that he had to rise from the dead.” (Jn 20:3-9)
John wants readers to know he didn’t tamper with the cloths, Mr. Nohs said; “he let the first authority figure, the first pope, enter first. …
“What did John see and what did John believe?” Mr. Nohs suggested it was these cloths and that John had helped place Jesus’ body in this shroud, while Peter hadn’t.
The shroud depicts a man consistent with Christ’s culture and passion, according to Mr. Nohs.
He wears side locks, like some Jews today, and a Galilean ponytail, he said. From his forehead flops a phylactery, and bloodless spots on his left arm (unlike the steady blood flow on his right arm) suggest he also wore one there.
A black spot on the chin recalls Isaiah 50:6: “I gave my … cheeks to those who plucked my beard,” he said, and the crown of thorns affirms that this is Jesus.
“We see welts under the right eye,” he said. “They took the reed and whack, whack, many times. Brutal, what they did to Jesus.”
Jesus was scorged in the nude, as revealed in the shroud, he said, and showed a flagellum “meant to gouge the flesh.”
The shroud depicts deep lacerations on the left knee, Mr. Nohs said, speaking of Jesus falling. He showed a cross beam like the 100 pound-plus ones he said the condemned were tied to.
“Shroud debunkers” use the placement of blood to say this is not Jesus, but Mr. Nohs claimed this proves it is Jesus.
He used an audience member to demonstrate how the shroud would have been draped over the body, and flowers inserted later to affect the odor, thus making blood stains appear in slightly different spots than would be the case if the shroud was originally flat, as he said it was three days later.
Scientists study the shroud, but there comes a time when individuals must ask themselves, “Do I accept it?” Mr. Nohs said.
“We have to focus on the individual whose image this is,” he said. “There’s a reason we have it; it’s unfolding in our time.”
Jesus presented himself alive to his apostles “by many proofs after he had suffered.” (Acts 1:3)
“What did Jesus have?” Mr. Nohs asked. “He had a shroud. … He gave it to the apostles to help them evangelize. …
“The Eucharist is celebrated on the burial shroud of Jesus,” he said of what some believe was early Church practice. “We are preparing the dead elements for transubstantiation. The shroud accepted the dead body of Jesus and gave it back to us alive.”
Jews are not to touch burial cloths; if something defiled touches  something pure, the pure thing is defiled, he said. But with Jesus what is defiled becomes pure instead. The hemorrhaging woman who touched his cloak was cured. (Mt 9:20-22) The person entering the confessional is made clean.
The face cloth was used to collect blood on the cross after death, and is venerated in Spain today, Mr. Nohs said. This cloth would be left on the body, but Jesus’ was put in a place by itself, so his facial image is on the shroud instead, he said.
If you get up from a meal before finishing, you leave the napkin still in its folds to say you are not done, he said. He said Jewish servers agreed that that’s what one would do.
Jesus’ napkin was still in its folds in the tomb, Mr. Nohs said.
The message?
“I’m coming back.”