The cross stands at the center of our reflection in these days.
- Lent summoned us to follow Jesus to the Jerusalem that held the cross on which he would die. The Triduum draws us to the foot of the cross. Easter leads us away to the new life won on the cross.
- An empty cross begins and ends our journey. In between unfolds the story of our redemption.
- Jesus took up our life in the incarnation, laid it down at the crucifixion, and lifted it up in the resurrection.
- The significance of the symbol of the cross resists facile categories. One easily understands why Christians wear this symbol openly, why it finds a place in our homes and churches, why all our sacraments include this movement, why it marks the beginning and end of our prayer, why a person’s physical presence in the Christian community starts and concludes with this signing.
- Was Jesus was the first one who died on his cross? Were his blood and fluids mixed with the dried stains of an earlier victim? Was he the last one who died on this cross? Did the marks of his passing provide the foundation on which another would pour out his life? What might that mean for us? In becoming one with us, did he stand at the middle as well as the beginning and the end? In attempting to make his cross unique, are we disguising the reason that he came?
- The cross symbolizes suffering, death and despair, but also forgiveness, life and hope.
- Everything has not been forcibly taken from Jesus on the cross; it has been willingly given.
- The body of the risen Jesus still bears the wounds of the nails and the spear. Does it also bear the piercing of the thorns on his forehead, the lash marks on his back, the bruises on his knees, and the marks of blows to his face? What memories accompany these injuries of the resurrected Lord?
- Was the greatest suffering of Jesus his view of his mother watching him die?
- Was the repentance of the “good thief” a gift that enabled Jesus to turn from his own misery to the needs of another? How comforting were the words that he could speak about joining him in paradise?
- The devil prefaces the temptations at the beginning of Jesus’ ministry with the challenge “If you are the Son of God . . .” Then, we are told that he leaves him “for a time.” On the cross, Jesus hears once again the challenge to save himself and prove his identity by descending from this instrument of his death. The demon has returned for this last temptation. Once again, Jesus resists, and in that resistance proves who he is.
“We adore you, O Christ, and we praise you, because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.”