Wednesday, March 11, 2009
Preaching the Cross
I just finished watching Fr. Corapi speaking with Fr. Pacwa on EWTN, and he made a major point; we don't often enough hear about Christ Crucified. We aren't told about the Cross. In many parishes, the crucifix has been replaced with a "resurrection cross", showing Jesus resurrected, but only a sterile reminder of His suffering.
We shouldn't be so surprised, then, that people are trying to end suffering through euthanasia rather than embrace it and understand its redemptive power. If we don't learn about the Cross...we can't truly know Christ.
I grew up with images of our Crucified Lord all over the house; in the images of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and Immaculate Heart of Mary, in the crucifixes, in learning the Sorrowful Mysteries. At Mass, I used to look at my First Communion Mass book at the images of Jesus suffering, trying to understand...especially because there didn't seem to be a lot wrong with Him.
Over time, and especially in the last couple years, I've fallen in love with Jesus. Not because He's such a "nice guy", but because of His suffering. I don't love Jesus because He said some interesting things and inspired some people to change their ways and performed a few miracles. I love Jesus because He DIED for me. He suffered HORRIBLY...for me.
I can't tell you the moment it happened, but one day I looked at the Cross, at the suffering of Christ, and realized His sacrifice was REAL, it was PERSONAL, and it was done out of LOVE.
Once I knew what love REALLY was, I was changed forever.
It was the Cross that drew me to Him. It was His suffering, His redemptive suffering that made me approach.
"When I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself."
When Christ was first lifted from the earth, He was Crucified. The second time He was lifted, he was Resurrected, and the third time was his Ascension.
And every day, if we so desire or are able to go, we can see Christ lifted again, during the Sacrifice of the Mass...and we are drawn to Him even more closely, through Holy Communion.
We need to hear about the Cross, we need to understand the sacrifice of love that draws us to Him, and we need to understand His own invitation to unite our own sufferings with His, for that is where we will truly find Him. And in making an offering of our own trials...that is where we will learn to love others.
If we don't understand the message of the Cross, we can't possibly understand love.