Tuesday in the Fifth Week of Lent - 2012
Today's gospel from St. John's account of the life of Jesus Christ calls from our memories the fact that the cross is so much a part of our faith. Whenever we see a cross be it situated atop a building or standing in a field with two other simple crosses, we are reminded not of a craftsman working in a carpenter shop but rather of a man. The cross reminds us of the man Jesus. The cross has become for Christians and non-Christians alike a symbol of one man's final day on this earth. When we see a simple cross, without a body nailed to us, our minds easily travel back to a hill most of us have never seen or walked: Calvary.
More deeply within our Christian hearts, the cross symbolizes two realities: first and foremost, that the man who was crucified suffered that horrific death for humankind and that includes you and me. Secondly, the cross is a symbol to us that God the Father is ever present to us in our sufferings just as he was to His Son. The cross without the figure of a body on it reminds us of the same sentiments that Jesus felt and expressed: "The one who sent me is with me. He has not left me alone, because I always do what is pleasing to him." The Father is there for Jesus and his will always be present for you and me in our sufferings whatever they might be. At the same time we have to promise of Jesus himself who repeated more than a few time, "I am with you always." When we bring from our moments of pain, loss, frustration or confusion these same crosses in our lives to Jesus and God the Father, it is then that we share in the life of Jesus. Furthermore, each of us can say "When I have walked to my own Calvary, when I have suffered because of circumstances in my life, and when I have turned to God the Father and experience his healing graces, it is then that I have become a participant in the totality of the Jesus-message. It is then that I have come to experience fully the Paschal Mystery. In this moment I am truly a Christian ... a genuine follower of Jesus Christ. Truly He is my Lord and Savior."