The cross is a scandal. The cross is foolishness to the world.
Sadly, all too many Catholics today are ashamed of the Holy Cross. Crucifixes are removed from sanctuaries. The mass is no longer described as the sacrifice of Calvary renewed and re-presented. Rather, it is portrayed simply a community meal, a time of fellowship and friendship. Loving sacrifice, “offering it up”, repentance, contrition—these things are hardly ever mentioned.
Joy is the preferred topic of conversation. Love is all the rage. But the fact that true and perfect joy is found in carrying one’s cross after Jesus is politely ignored. The fact that sacrifice is the heart of love is dismissed as too hard for people to hear.
And yet, we must remember that the Cross is the central mystery of the Catholic faith. “But what we preach is Christ crucified,” said St. Paul, “to the Jews, a discouragement, to the Gentiles, mere folly.” But, “to us, who are on the way to salvation, it is the evidence of God’s power.”
By the Cross, death was conquered; by the Cross our sins were atoned for; by the Cross, we can approach God our Father with a loving confidence. Without the Cross, all is lost and the world is shipwrecked. Without it, there is no salvation and no hope. The Cross is truly the Tree of Life, and those who eat of its fruit will live forever.
As Catholics, we cannot be afraid or ashamed of the Cross. We must boldly proclaim it and all that it means to a world that idolizes comfort above all. More than this, we must embrace the crosses that are sent to us, carrying them after Christ with love, joy, and patient endurance. “Be glad and light-hearted, for a rich reward awaits you in heaven.”
Men, on this day and everyday, Christ invites you to follow him on the Royal Road of the Holy Cross. To each of us, he says, “if any man will come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me.” For it is only in losing our lives for His sake that we will find eternal life.
Ave Crux, Spes Unica — Hail the Cross, Our Only Hope!The Catholic Gentleman.