Study: Read the Passion narrative again; put yourself in the drama of the Lord’s death. Stand with Mary at the foot of his cross.
Pray: Take time to gaze at the cross. Look beyond the art to the reality of the Lord’s passion. Dwell upon his wounds and thank him for his sacrifice.
Serve: Consider who is in need of healing in your life. Are there people who are carrying a heavy cross? Might you be like Simon of Cyrene – perhaps able to help them with a part of the load?
How many times throughout our lives have we made the sign of the Cross? Stop and think: at Mass; meal prayers; morning & evening prayers; special gatherings; and moments of blessing and grace. This simple action, which we teach to children at an early age, invokes a connection with the passion of Jesus.
We adorn our homes with the Cross. A crucifix is a common gift to a new home; they are placed in bedrooms and common areas as a reminder that Jesus is the source of our help and strength.
We adorn ourselves with the Cross in many ways: a crucifix on a chain; a cross in our pocket; earrings; rings; bracelets; and all the extra cards, bookmarks, figurines, and miscellaneous items that remind us that Jesus died on a Cross.
The passion we read every year on this day focuses our attention on the central mystery of our faith. Out of love for us God sent Jesus, who gave his life on the Cross that we might have eternal life. Through his suffering and death, we recognize that God has made a pathway possible that we might all journey through this life to the gates of Heaven.
The Cross teaches us many lessons:
* Life is difficult, and at times painful
* Weakness and sin are part of our experience
* God identifies with our pain
* God dies that we might have life
At the core of our teaching the Cross stands as the testament of God’s love for us. On one hand the Cross is an embarrassment – after all, why would God (all powerful, all knowing, supreme) choose to be humiliated? Does that not mean that God is weak? Why could God not take away our sins in a way that showed majesty and splendor?
Yet on the other hand, the Cross is a statement that God meets us where we are in life. In our weakness, in our humiliation, in our low moments of doubt and sin God comes to us. Jesus, like us in every way but sin, understands our pain because through his Cross he shares in the suffering of the world. He knows us, and loves us even more.
Every time we make the sign of the Cross may we recall what the Lord endured for us. May the Cross be our strength as we trust in God’s love, and may we seek to follow that love as we journey through this life toward the world to come.
Note: this post was originally published on March 18, 2013.