Saint John Paul II once said, We are invited to look upon the Cross. It is the “privileged place” where the love of God is revealed. On the Cross, human misery and divine mercy meet. The Cross is planted in the earth and would seem to extend its roots in human malice, but it reaches up, pointing as it were to the heavens, pointing to the goodness of God.
By means of the Cross of Christ, the Evil One has been defeated, death is overcome, life is given to us, hope is restored, light is imparted. *
The feast we celebrate today reminds us that we should stay close to the cross. It is a privileged place of horror and hope; pain and promise. We are invited to look upon the cross, and stand close enough to its rough beams so that we feel its shadow across our face.
Standing close to the cross changes our perspective. It sharpens our vision and broadens our view. The closer we stand to the cross, the more we can see the image of the people we are called to be. The closer we stand to the cross, the more clearly we can hear God calling our names, and naming our vocations.
While we are standing at the foot of the cross, there are certain things we can no longer say about ourselves or our sisters and brothers. **
While we are standing at the foot of the cross, forgiveness becomes possible, healing becomes real, and death itself can be transformed. While we are standing at the foot of the cross, we are invited to see the world, both broken and blessed, through God’s eyes.
Ever since Salvador Dali’s “Christ of Saint John of the Cross” was first exhibited in 1952, it has evoked admiration, criticism, and controversy. The viewer looks down from a perspective high above the bowed head and the outstretched arms of the crucified Lord. From that perspective— some say, the perspective of God— the eye is drawn to the foot of the cross plunged deep into the earth; plunged deep into Calvary, where God offered us his greatest gift.
For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world,
but that the world might be saved through him.
This passage has been called the Gospel in miniature. In it’s few words, are contained the whole of our story:God loves us. God invites us to believe.God saves us through the gift of his son.
Stay close to the cross; the place where human misery and divine mercy meet.It is the place where God offers us his greatest gift. The place where time continues to be transformed; where hope is restored; where death is destroyed forever.
*Pope John Paul II Excerpts from homily September 14, 2003
**Larry Gillick, S.J. Deglman Center for Ignatian Spirituality