Pastor’s Letter – Sept. 10, 2017: The Contradiction of the Cross
Dear Parishioners, This coming week we will be celebrating two feasts that have to do with the theme of the homily given last weekend: the theme of the cross and suffering. The feasts are the Exultation of the Cross and Our Lady of Sorrows. The theme of cross and suffering connected with a lot of people, I think because the cross and suffering are so much a part of our vulnerable human condition.
As I shared last Sunday, the cross is by its very nature a contradiction, something uncomfortable, unexpected, unpredictable and often turbulent. However, Jesus, leading by example, has asked us to pick up our cross and follow him. With, in and through Christ, the cross takes on a new meaning. Part of the suffering of the cross is what appears to be the senseless nature of it, and we may ask “why is this happening to me?”
From these two Feasts we can learn something about the cross. The Exultation of the Cross teaches us that the cross is not an evil in itself. It is a pathway to something else, something good and even glorious. We are not ashamed of the cross. Our Lord would not have stretched out his hands on the cross if it were an evil in itself and led nowhere. The cross always leads to the Resurrection and eternal life. What we learn from the feast of Our Lady of Sorrows is that when we suffer, we are not alone. Mary was there, present with her son Jesus as he suffered on the cross. She was there as a support and she shared in his suffering. A sword pierced her heart as the body of Jesus was being tortured to death. We are not alone in our suffering either. Jesus and Mary are with us in our suffering, to help and encourage us. There are also people who love us with whom we can share our sorrows and burdens; this is the support of the community.
The good news is that all suffering, and all evil for that matter, will have an end and end well. This is why Jesus came to this world to establish his Kingdom, which will have no admixture of evil which includes suffering. The cross was the instrument to get us there; it was the necessary sacrifice to atone for evil. Once mankind is completely redeemed and set free, the necessity of the cross will be over. Our personal suffering, united with Christ, in some way adds and participates in our own redemption and the redemption of the entire world.
A few practical things: This weekend in conjunction with the US Bishops and the Archdiocese we having a special collection for the relief of Hurricane Harvey victims, please be generous. You may have noticed the big beautiful locust tree that was in front of the rectory is no longer there. About a week and half ago a very large main branch came down. There was some concern about the structural integrity of the entire tree and the danger it posed so it was decided to take it down. The fiscal year 2016/17 ended July 1st. We are in the process of closing out the fiscal year, and with the aid of the Finance Council are preparing the annual Parish Financial Report. We plan to present the report to the parish the first part of November.