“Behold the wood of the Cross on which hangs the Savior of the world.”

These words are proclaimed every Good Friday in churches around the world—”behold the wood of the Cross on which hangs the Savior of the world.”

When I behold and meditate upon the cross, I see an innocent man suffering terribly. What did He do to deserve the agony of this fate? This sentence? This excruciating pain that led to His death?

Jesus came into the world and into our lives as Gift from God. After His baptism, Jesus preached the Good News and taught us forgiveness, love, compassion, and healing. Jesus invited us to realize that we are all brothers and sisters belonging to the same family of God. He taught these radical truths with wisdom, insight, and humor, drawing His disciples, and us, deeper into the very heart of God.

“Behold the wood of the Cross on which the Savior of the world hangs.”

These past several weeks, we’ve journeyed into the Lenten Season together, accepting the invitation of the Church to pray, fast, and do acts of kindness. And also during this Lent, we have been shaken and shattered by tragedies of terrible violence.

Here in Chicago, we lost a beloved police commander to a brutal murder. In Florida, a young man with mental health issues massacred 17 high school students and faculty members, while injuring many others. Innocent lives, all, inexplicably extinguished: Gone!

In moments like these, I feel at a loss, and I suspect you do too. Words fail. Where do we turn?

As we enter into the Triduum, we are invited to behold the wood of the Cross on which hangs the Savior of the world. To identify and be in communion with seemingly unfathomable grief, with our struggle to comprehend, and with our pain.

To identify our pain with that of the One who hangs on the cross—to offer up our suffering in union with the Passion of Jesus—this is what we Christians understand as redemptive suffering.

Because of redemptive suffering—suffering that has purpose—we are able to look upon the Cross but we know it does not end in death. We are an Easter people. People who believe in new possibilities and who believe in new beginnings after loss. We believe that life can be resurrected. We believe in Jesus who hung on the Cross, was buried, and three days later, rose from the dead. He reminds us that we are called to live the Paschal mystery in our lives; to witness the death that brings new life to ourselves and others.

My friends, I believe in the risen Lord. I believe that sorrow turns to joy. I believe that despair does not have the final word. Jesus does!

Hope does.

So my hope, my dream, my desire for you and for our Church, our city, and our world is that we live in the Peace of the Risen Lord as followers and disciples. We know that death and destruction is not the final word. Rather, we hold the final Word in our hearts. We bring Easter hope, Easter joy, Easter life to enhance our world. And we are called to live together in peace as the very children of God.

Easter Blessings.



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