Cross - Love, Sacrifice, Forgiveness
Today on Good Friday Catholics will gather in churches to commemorate the passion and crucifixion of Jesus. One of the most significant rituals in today’s celebration is the veneration of the cross, when the members of the congregation take turns to honor and kiss the cross on which Jesus died. It used to be a very exciting ritual when we were young but today I wonder whether what we did then was just a ritual without any real meaning in our lives.
Today being much older and having undergone the bitter and happy experiences in life we tend to understand the true meaning of the cross. The cross reminds of the agonizing final moments of Jesus before his death. It reminds us of the excruciating pain Jesus would have endured before he was mercilessly nailed to the cross. It was truly a very painful time but the beauty was that Jesus did not resist arrest and subsequent torture before finally being crucified. He accepted all that willingly without anger and hate for those who plotted and killed him for standing up for truth. He even forgave those who tortured him by saying, “Father forgive them as they not know what they do”. This extreme sacrifice and forgiveness is what makes Jesus different from ordinary humans like you and I. His Passion and death was a wonderful lesson for all us who fight and kill to fulfill our greed and jealousy.
Today the cross to us refers to the numerous trials and tribulation that we have to undergo in life from the time of birth till death; as a student, working adult, a husband or wife, a parent, a caring child to our parents, a retiree and finally as a neglected elderly parent during the last days of our lives. It refers to the many troubles we face in standing up for truth and justice in this world where the meek and humble are bullied. It refers to the many challenges we face in bringing up our children through thick and thin. It refers to the pain we undergo when our children neglect us at the time when we need them most. It refers to the pain and suffering we undergo when a major illness or tragedy strikes us and our families. Finally it refers to the pain that we go through when someone close leaves us and when people who meant so much us betray us.
The cross should remind us fop the need to have a heart to forgive even the cruelest and those who do all kinds of harm to us. It should also remind us not resort to anger, hate or violence even against those who hurt us.
As we venerate the cross today let us remember the many people around us who may be suffering like Jesus on that fateful day of his crucifixion. Let us remember the many people who are longing for food, shelter and above all for our love and consoling words and physical presence.
Let us pray for those suppressed and despised in society and those seriously ill or dying. Let pray asking God to give us the courage and a loving heart to bring a little comfort to them. Let us finally pray that God give us the virtue forgiveness, to forgive even our worst enemies.
The cross is not a symbol of sorrow but one of love, sacrifice and forgiveness
Have a Blessed and Thoughtful Good Friday