Grace to you!
From today's evening, crosses in Catholic churches are covered with purple cloths. They will be unveiled 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 Christ's crucifixion), following the withdrawal of Jesus from many public events because of heightened Intel 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 which the daring truth about Jesus would bring to many.
It would be very strange 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.
John 7:40-53 makes real the nature of the controversy between those who believe and those who are doubters and anything in between. 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, 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 Christ. In the same way, the faith of Christians and the unity of believers cannot be achieved if Jesus Christ isn’t the center. “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, the hands and the cross so you won’t have to deal with the price of the crucifixion, 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.
Discovery and resolution for the contradictions happen when we draw nearer and nearer to the cross, touch it 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 will fade.
God love you. God bless you.
Fr. Maurice Emelu
[Saturday, Lent, Week 4: Jer 11:18-20; Jn 7:40-53]
Father Maurice provides a daily blog of reflections based on the bible 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.