Grace to you!
In today’s reflection, I share some thoughts on the beauty of the cross.
Here is a moving testimony of the courage of faith. It’s about a woman who describes her struggles dealing with the news that her teenage child has cancer. “I found a new joy,” she said. “It’s in the cross of Christ.” Wow!
I couldn’t hold my emotions as I listened to her story and how she saw beauty amidst shattering news. She isn’t a sadist who loves pain for the sake of pain. She is a beautiful soul who has learned how to see beyond the cross, the saving grace of Christ. For her, the suffering is revealing of some beauty beyond the pains. “I look to Jesus” she said, “and I draw strength.” The woman is a gospel to me.
I know many people who’re passing through similar challenging situations. Some of them have resorted to drugs, alcohol, or other forms of addictions to quell the pain. Some have grown weary or lost their faith. Others suffer different levels of depression. Please join me in praying for grace and support for people in these kinds of situation.
I tell you, there are more beautiful roses picked from the thorny trees of our everyday lives than the best of oil, acrylic or watercolor paintings in our museums or art collections. You only need to look beyond the cross and see its revelatory power.
St. Paul discovered this secrete and lived it. He wrote: “I glory in nothing but the cross of Christ” (Gal 6:14).
You see that crossed wood; it speaks to the core of our vulnerability as humans. It comes with a surprise embodiment of hope for all. Christ crucified brought beauty and order amidst the cacophony of evil. He does so in the heart of anyone who embraces the Lord hanging on the wood of the cross.
Behold Christ on the cross! You would see your redemption there. Things on earth move by way of the cross. Blessings flow from the cross. Remove the cross, namely pains and suffering, and you are proposing a utopia. Such you see only in movies. Movies aren’t that real. In the real world in which we live, we have to deal with the reality of the cross.
You may not need to travel far to realize the perishable nature of all things on earth. These include the fading of your beautiful skin, your thick hair, your strong muscles and the breaking of your long nails. Plastic surgery and genetic tinkering can’t stop this reality. Its joyful and beautiful to see that something endures beyond these. It’s what the cross of Christ ushers in.
Winning souls for God, making demons bow to you and being part of the glory of God’s people, are effective by the tool and the way of the cross. The mission to evangelize, just like the mission of the seventy-two at the orders of our Lord (see Luke 10:1-12), would bear fruit if flowing from the same model of the cross.
The evangelizer has one code of conduct—be Christ to others. In doing so, they have to be detached from stuff (Lk 10:4) and lead by way of sacrifice. We look upon the pierced one, Christ (Jn 19:37). For it is by his wounds we are healed” (Is 53:5, 1 Pet 2:24). By his wound too, others can be healed through our life and ministry.
The ink of justification, the pen with which your name is engraved in the book of life is the precious blood of Jesus from the crimsoned cross. Embrace it. Discover the hope and redemption it brings.
I pray you discover the beautiful revelations locked in that crossed wood. May you also find hope, strength and beauty amidst your pains. Amen.
God love you. God bless you.
Fr. Maurice Emelu
[14th Sunday Ordinary Time C: Isaiah 66:10-14a; Galatians 6:14-18; Luke 10:1-12, 17-20]
Fr. Maurice Emelu, Ph.D.
Father Maurice provides a daily blog of reflections based on Scriptural readings of the day from the Catholic liturgical calendar. You will find these reflections helpful for your spiritual growth, inspiration and developing your own thoughts. It may also be helpful for ministers in preparing their sermons for liturgical celebrations.