Grace to you!
In our Catholic tradition, from today's evening, we cover crosses with purple cloths. We unveil the crosses on Good Friday, during the Veneration of the Cross. Have you contemplated the significance of the covered cross?
In addition to preparing us for the Passion (events of the Lord’s crucifixion), following the withdrawal of Jesus from many public events because of heightened intelligence about the plot to kill him, the covering of the cross also speaks to me in many other ways. It is a symbolic, liturgical pointer to the reality of the doubts, raging controversies, and signs of contradiction that the daring truth about Jesus Christ would bring to many.
It would be extraordinary if you've never felt challenged or confronted by one truth or another of Jesus' identity. It could be his person as Lord, his role as the Lamb of God, or, more frequently, the reality of the crucifixion.
The Gospel of John 7:40-53 makes real the nature of the controversy. It rages between those who believe and those who are doubters and those in between the spectrum. Division among people about the Jesus-person and identity, and the Christ-event is expected. It is actually what makes faith real.
You observe that the first major controversy in the history of the Church was Christological. That is, it was centered on, or substantially related to, the identity of Jesus as the Christ. Ever since, the controversies raging across the centuries to the present day are in one way or the other related to the question of the identity of Jesus as the Christ. In the same way, the faith of Christians and the unity of believers cannot be achieved if Jesus Christ isn't the center. All things, "Through him, with him and in him."
Is Jesus covered in your life? Are there some doubts raging in your mind about who Jesus is? Or, have you covered the wounds, hands, and the cross to avoid the price of the crucifixion? Are you afraid of the cost of the Christian faith as cross-inspired? Do you avoid Jesus because of the cross? Is Jesus hidden from you?
Lent is a time to confront these signs of contradiction. Do not focus outside of yourself. Look inward and see. For behind the veils, the covered cross, there is a person, the crucified Messiah, Jesus the Lord. Beyond the pains and suffering brought about by the Coronavirus pandemic at the moment, Christ lives and will give you hope. It is a moment of discovery to learn the lessons that flow from the cross.
Discovery and resolution for the contradictions happen when we draw nearer and nearer to the cross. They occur when we touch that cross and watch the veils fall off. Then, we can see him whom our soul loves.
Today, in your gentle soul-journey, avail yourself the opportunity of a touch. Touch Jesus on the cross, and the controversies, the doubts, the contradictions in your life will fade.
I embrace that old rugged cross. From the cross, comes my victory. Amen.
God love you. God bless you.
Fr. Maurice Emelu
[Saturday, Lent, Week 4: Jer 11:18-20; Jn 7:40-53]
Author and Goal
Father Maurice Emelu PhD., provides a daily blog of reflections based on the Scriptural readings of the day from the Catholic liturgical calendar. The goal is to teach, inspire, encourage, and foster healing through the grace of God's word. They are written in a language that is appropriate for a general audience. You will find these reflections helpful for your spiritual growth, inspiration, and developing your thoughts. They may also be useful for ministers in preparing their sermons for liturgical celebrations.