This Week's Reflecton from Fr Bob Warren: Fr. Bob's Reflection on the Feast of the Triumph of the Cross
Fr. Bob's Reflection on the Feast of the Triumph of the Cross
14 is the Feast of the Triumph of the Cross. As you look at the Cross,
did you ever ask yourself the question "Why?" Why did Jesus die like
this? If He had been a mere man, it would have made sense. He could not
avoid it. He was up against impossible odds. The cards were stacked
against Him, but it is different for the Lord of Glory. He did not have
to become like us. He did not have to be born into our world. He did
not have to get tired and thirsty, dusty and angry. He did not have to
take insults from His own creatures. He did not have to sweat blood in a
garden, beg His Father, "Do not let me die." He did not have to be
condemned like a common criminal. You remember how He chided Peter for
drawing a sword in His defense. "Don't you think I can appeal to my
Father, and He will at once send me more than twelve legions of angels?"
And you remember His words as the Good Shepherd, "No one takes My life
from Me. I lay it down of My own accord." He did not have to die.
then did He die? A clue comes from God's own book, from the gospel of
John. "God so loved the world that He gave His only son that whoever
believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life." St. Paul says
in amazement, "He loved me and gave Himself for me."
the Lord of Glory did it all because He loved you. If you were the only
person in the world, He would have died for you. But then you might
say couldn't God have discovered a different way—a way less difficult
than death on Calvary? Couldn't God have simply forgiven us and asked
only that we be sorry for having offended Him. If this was not enough
for divine justice, if God's Son had somehow to touch our earth in
person, why didn't He come as the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
did He have to become human like us? Why did He have to experience
meekness, fear, weakness, and if God the Father wanted Him to die, why
couldn't he have died in bed? Died with dignity? Why ask Him to die in a
bloody disgrace, mocked by the world for which He was dying, the world
He created? Frankly, I do not know, I suspect no one knows save the God
who invented the Passion, but one fact rings loud and clear from
Calvary... where God's love is concerned, we mortals are ignorant, very
often experience what men and women will do for love, we know what a
mother will go through, put up with, for the sake of her child. We know
that when the chips are down, if we love enough, we will go to any
lengths for the ones we love, but we find it strange to think that way
about God. Perhaps because we think of God as the stern judge:
impassive, unmoving, and hard as a rock. If that is the way we see our
God, then we do not know Him. We have not grasped the truth that St.
John tells us when he says, this is love. Not that we loved God, but
that He loved us and sent His Son to be the sacrifice for our sins. You
see God was not content with some sort of legal redemption, a calm,
cool, formal pardon for the sins of the world. He wanted to experience
what we experience, live out our human condition. He wanted to learn as
we learn. He wanted to love as we love, often surrounded by hate and
lust. He wanted to experience first-hand what it feels like to grow and
to hurt, to laugh and to cry, to grow angry and to be afraid. He was
sinless, but He wanted to be where sin is. He wanted to know what makes
us do the things we do. He wanted not only to heal us, to lay hands of
compassion on the scarred, on the lonely, the unloved.
wanted to feel the kind of pain that we feel. He wanted to feel what it
is like to die. God's son wanted to be one of us, one with us. For Him,
love was stronger than death. Greater love than this no one has that.
He laid down His life for you. He did not simply die. He died for you.
If He loved you that much, you must be quite extraordinary, very
special. The least... or should I say the best you can do in return is
to not simply live... but to live for Him. Live the way He wants, as