Good Friday is a tough day to live through. On one hand, it is a celebration of what Christ did for us, but on the other hand, what he had to endure was so traumatic, that celebration just doesn’t seem the right thing to do at all.
So we starve ourselves to help unify with His suffering if even just a little while the somberness of the cross brings us to a deep sense of melancholy. Yet it was this moment that defines us, not the resurrection.
This is easy to miss. The resurrection is not the prime moment, it is the proof that the prime moment was the real thing. It is because Jesus rose that we know that the cross was the real deal, and it is the proof that our sufferings will end in our own resurrection.
So today we adore the cross. We hold it up on high as we walk through our Lord’s passion. There is no Mass, because we have no Christ. How can a priest act In Persona Christi if our Lord is not there? Today it almost feels odd for the priest to even preside at the service, I almost feel it would be deeper to see him sitting in the pews with us, the power given to him by Christ stripped bare for the day, as Christ was stripped bare. (Don’t get any crazy ideas, the new rubrics demand that the priest preside at this service!)
Today we adore the cross.
I wanted to share a thought. We, as human beings, are enveloped in time. We live and breathe time like a fish breathes water. We simply cannot even imagine timelessness. When we think of eternal life, we tend to think in infinite life, a life that goes on forever. That is simply not so. Time is an invention of God’s for our benefit, it is not part of the true nature of reality. Eternity is being all places at once, not a stream of consciousness that reaches into infinity.
I know, it’s a little out there, but there is one aspect to this reality that is really important today. When God looks at the world, he does not see yesterday as separate from today. He sees them both at the same “time”. So from an eternal perspective, He sees you and I going about our lives and at the same time He sees Christ hanging on a tree in the desert.
The wood of the cross we hold up is not just a symbol. It is in a very real sense, truly the wood of the cross that Christ is hanging on in the eternal now of God. It may not be made of the same kind of wood, and it may not have the stains of His Blood, but His cross reaches out through eternity, and touches us where we stand.
This is why Christ was able to suffer for all, because as God He is here in all times and all places. He truly took the sin you committed yesterday and held them on the cross. He was and is there. The immensity of this act simply staggers the mind.
As you come up today to kiss, touch, or fall to your knees before His cross, know that He is hanging there now, looking down upon you. If you cannot make it too a service today, when you get home, I want you to pull that crucifix off the wall, and look closely at His wounds and thank Him for each one.