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For Jesus' followers, the Cross is the Way

Archbishop Wenski's reflection on Good Friday 2018

Archbishop Thomas Wenski preached this reflection at the Good Friday Liturgy of the Lord’s Passion, celebrated March 30, 2018 at St. Mary Cathedral.

Shortly before his arrest and execution, Jesus told Thomas and the other Apostles: I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. This “I am” of Jesus – which is repeated at the beginning of the Passion Narrative – is suggestive of the very name of God revealed to Moses. It does not allow one to take a neutral position before Jesus.

Either he is what he said he was – or either he is a fraud, a false prophet or he is a delusional lunatic. There is really no middle ground.

March 30, 2018
MARLENE QUARONI | FC

Father Christopher Marino, rector of St. Mary Cathedral, holds the cross as Marie Fleurimon kisses it.

Archbishop Thomas Wenski officiates at Good Friday service, the Liturgy of the Lord's Passion.

Photographer: MARLENE QUARONI | FC

March 30, 2018 MARLENE QUARONI | FC Father Christopher Marino, rector of St. Mary Cathedral, holds the cross as Marie Fleurimon kisses it. Archbishop Thomas Wenski officiates at Good Friday service, the Liturgy of the Lord's Passion.

If Jesus is who he said he was, then he is truly the Way, the Truth and the Life. If he is who he said he was, then he does have the power to redeem us, to forgive our sins, to bring us to new life.

Then, there is nothing for us to do but to set off along the Way that is Jesus – to conform ourselves to the Truth that is Jesus and to embrace the Life that is Jesus.

If we don’t believe that Jesus is the Way; then he must be for us necessarily “in the way.” As happened in Jerusalem two millennia ago, he will be in the way of our own ambitions, our own pursuits; he will be in the way of our will, of our assertion of self. And, if he is in the way, then we will try to avoid him, or go around him, and when we can’t: then, just like the authorities of his time, just like the crowds in Jerusalem, we will mock him, ridicule him and crucify him again.

In the Acts of the Apostles, the first followers of the Risen Lord were simply described as followers of the Way. And because they were of the way – and you can’t really be “of the Way” without yourself getting “in the way” as well —  they too suffered ridicule, persecution and often martyrdom. As Jesus tells us: if they hate you, know that they hated me before you.

From the Cross, Jesus opens his arms to embrace each one of us – in accepting his loving embrace, may we not be afraid of the demands of discipleship; may we never be ashamed of the crosses we may have to carry. 

Nan sevis jodi a, yo envite nou vin adore Jezi ki sou Kwa a. Se konsa, seremoni jodi a vle fè n konprann  wout laglwa leve byen vivan an pase pa chemen lakwa. Alekile, fò nou konprann kwa pa nou yo pa tankou obstak k ap jennen nou, k ap kontrarye nou; men, fò nou konprann kwa pa nou yo kòm chemen an k ap mennen nou nan lavi tou nèf Jezi vle fè n kado a.

La celebración de hoy de la Pasión nos invita a venerar la cruz – y al hacerlo, aceptamos también las cruces que encontramos, no como si fueran simplemente obstáculos en el medio de nuestro camino, sino el mismo “camino” para entrar en la gloria de Jesús, quien muriendo destruyó nuestra muerte y resucitando restauró nuestra vida.

Today’s celebration of the Passion invites us to venerate the cross – and in doing so we wish to accept the crosses we find in our lives not as being “in our way” but as being “our way” to enter into the glory of Jesus, who in dying destroyed our death and in rising restored our life.

Archbishop Thomas Wenski prays during the Good Friday service, March 30, 2018, at St. Mary Cathedral.

Photographer: MARLENE QUARONI | FC

Archbishop Thomas Wenski prays during the Good Friday service, March 30, 2018, at St. Mary Cathedral.


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