Study: Reflect on a time you experienced weakness and suffering. Where did you find the strength to continue?
Pray: Gaze upon a crucifix and offer to Christ any struggles you are facing right now. Bring the needs of your loved ones to the foot of the Cross as well.
Serve: Is there someone in your life who is carrying a heavy cross right now? How can you offer comfort and assistance?
Palm Sunday Readings (with Year A reading for the Procession with Palms)
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; crosses 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 as well: 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 His Son, 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. Yet the Cross appears to be 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?
In reality, the weakness revealed in the Cross uncovers our frailty, not God’s. Jesus endured the Cross because of our broken, wounded nature. He carried the Cross because we were unable to – as St. Paul writes “The wages of sin is death” in Romans 6:23 – and he bore the suffering, pain, and grief that are the natural result of our sinfulness. God is not weak, rather God takes on our weakness so that we can be made whole.
The Cross proclaims the truth 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, loves us, and saves us through his Cross.
Every time we make the sign of the Cross may we recall what the Lord endured for us. Through the Cross we discover our strength as we trust in God’s love and seek to follow that love as we journey through this life toward the world to come.
We adore you, O Christ, and we praise you. Because by your Holy Cross you have redeemed the world!
Note: This post was first published on April 3, 2017.