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Friday, April 3, 2015

BEHOLD! The Wood of the Cross on Which Hung The Salvation of the World!

Sermon by Rev. John Paul Shea
Good Friday, April 3, 2015
Saints Peter and Paul Parish, Tucson, AZ

Behold the wood of the cross on which hung the Salvation of the world. Come let us adore!

As we come together on this sacred day
where we commemorate the crucifixion of our Lord Jesus Christ and His death at Calvary. Let us briefly reflect on what the cross of Our Lord Jesus means for each one of us.

In the time of Jesus the cross was a symbol of Roman power. It was one of the most painful methods of capital punishment and the most shameful way to die. Rome used this torturous method as a means of exacting authority and control over a population.

Today the cross is a symbol of the power of God. Our Lord has turned this symbol of brutality into a symbol of salvation and hope.

As Catholics we look upon the cross in the form of a crucifix. We are reminded that the cross of our faith is insignificant apart from the One who hung upon it on Calvary. The cross for us Christians makes no sense without gazing upon the One who hung upon the cross—Our Lord Jesus Christ.

Yet, as we gaze upon the crucifix of our Lord Jesus, we are reminded that His bodily death on the cross signifies not simply His death. The crucifix of our Lord signifies our death also. It means that we are to die to sin and live for God.

Some of you may know that before I entered the seminary to be a priest of the Diocese of Tucson that I had spent a couple of years in formation for the Discalced Carmelite Religious Order. During this time I lived in a monastery up in the foothills overlooking San Jose, California.

I remember when I first entered the room where I would stay at the monastery that I
No corpus? 
immediately noticed a large wooden cross on the wall. Yet, there was no body of Our Lord on the cross. It was simply a bare cross. When I asked one of my superiors why there was no body of Our Lord on the cross, I was told an answer that I will never forget. There was no body on the cross because the missing body was to be me.

In other words, I was reminded that if I want to grow in my relationship with God, then I must die to my own will. And so it is with all of us.

My brothers and sisters, the cross of Our Lord Jesus Christ teaches us that if we want to
The ordination of Fr. John Paul Shea --
he accepts his cross!
attain eternal life and live with Our Lord, than we must make changes in our lives. We must strive to die to the things that lead us away from God and surrender our lives to Our Lord. It is only then that we will begin to experience the joy of the resurrection in our lives and the eternal kingdom that is to come.

As we come today to venerate the cross of Our Lord on this sacred day when we commemorate the crucifixion of Jesus Christ and His death at Calvary, let us allow the power of our Lord’s cross to transform our lives by abandoning our own will and offering our lives to God.

Behold the wood of the cross on which hung the Salvation of the world. Come let us adore!

Did you enjoy this piece? Fr. John Paul Shea has more: Climb Aboard the Ark of Our Salvation

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for this piece. How wonderful the condescension of Jesus, that he accepts the little offering that we make in our lives, and unites them with his offering on the cross. Thank you for letting us do this, dear Lord.
    I have seen the Carmelite brothers of San Jose witnessing at the Planned Parenthood that is located not far from their monastery. It is comforting to know that they are praying for everyone here in Silicon Valley, aka the Santa Clara Valley.