The Lesson of the Cross
John Buchanan -
the most cursory study of the last days of Our Lord’s life
on earth reveals that there has been little change in human
nature over the past twenty centuries. All we have to do is
to ask ourselves: who were they who welcomed Him into His
holy city on Palm Sunday, and, secondly, who were they that
secured His death, His murder, five day later?
who welcomed Him on Palm Sunday were the little people, dare
we say, the common people, and the children. And those who
conspired in His execution on the Friday were the
privileged, the aristocracy, the theologians and doctors of
the law—the intelligentsia.
any different today?
are the people who still retain their Catholic identity in
faith and practice after these years of torment and torture
in the Church? Little people like ourselves, children.
Children are very perceptive. They can spot a phony. They
can also recognize a friend. And meanwhile, Christ and His
Gospel continue to be pilloried and mocked by the
present-day scribes and Pharisees, the high priests who
mould our social structures, control our economies,
legislate for us and judge us, pontificate in our halls of
sophistication and skepticism so often go hand in hand? We
suppose that intellectual pride is the answer. But, then,
that was the sin of Lucifer. And yet, for the believer, once
again and for another year man has come with his burden of
sin and sorrow and thrown it upon the shoulders of the
suffering Christ. And once again the Saviour of us all has
carried that bitter and filthy burden up the hill of Calvary
and destroyed it, annihilated it, by the Cross and by His
that were the end of it, all would be lost, that beautiful
Life to no avail, the suffering and pain meaningless,
another candle snuffed out. What would people care? It
happens every day – in the old folks’ home, on an operating
table, the junkie who uses the needle once too often, in the
abortion clinic. Life was cheap in those times, as cheap as
it is today. The Resurrection has this impact: that out of
the darkness of defeat and death, the chill stone of the
tomb, came victory and vibrancy such as the world had never
known, would never know again.
one word which characterizes this sacred season of Easter is
the hackneyed little word “hope”. Before Christ as without
Christ, there was and is no such thing as hope. In Him we
have a basis of hope, for our own personal salvation, for
that of our families, and for that of our friends. Because
when Christ rises all mankind rise with Him.
Him there was life and that life was the light of men.” He
paid the price for our hope, which was demanded by His
Father’s innermost nature and being. Man had sold himself
into a thralldom. Only the God-Man could deposit the ransom
for primeval foolishness and folly. But why blame another?
If we look into our own hearts we see what fools we
ourselves have been. Our Lord on the Cross – the only sane
Person in a universe of stupidity, a sea of fools.
sparingly Our Lord orchestrates His Resurrection. There is
no fanfare. An encounter with the one-time sinner in a
garden, and the Magdalene represents us all. Two short
episodes in the upper room. An evening meal in a small
town. Upon a hill in Galilee. Beside the lake in a morning
mist. Just enough artistically to establish the unmistakable
and the undeniable fact. And then He was gone – back to the
arms of His Father’s love, there to wait and to reign the
long years through, until once again the Father would send
Him upon a mission to the men of earth, that time to judge
the nations in the Great Assize.
can we think to get into our small minds the unfathomable
mystery of the Christ? In the Vigil Service, when we blessed
and put the signature on the great candle which we used to
symbolize to ourselves the Christ Risen, the Church put into
our hearts the prayers of Easter…
Father, we share in the light of your glory
Through your son, the light of the world.
Inflame us with a new hope
bring us one day
feasts of the eternal light.
is yesterday and today
Beginning and the End,
Alpha and the Omega
time belongs to Him
be glory and power
Through every age and forevermore
holy and glorious wounds
guard and keep us
light rising in glory
Dispelling the darkness of OUR hearts and minds