Msgr. Joseph A. Pellegrino
Good Friday Liturgy of the Veneration of the Cross: Come to the Cross
We wear it around our necks. We place it in our rooms. We put it on the top of our buildings and people say, “That must be a Church. That person must be a Christian.” It is the best known symbol of Christianity. It is the cross.
Why? Do we use the cross simply to remember the events of some 2,000 years ago? Yes, we remember that the Love of God for us was so intense that He allowed death to conquer His Son so His Son could restore us to the life lost by our sinfulness. But the cross is more than a memory, it is the living call from our Savior to love as He loved, to love with a sacrificial love. The cross, an instrument of torture, has been transformed by the Lord into an instrument of love.
We come to the cross this afternoon. We come and venerate the replica of the cross on which Jesus died. We come and ask Jesus to help us love as He loved, to love in a way that puts others before ourselves.
We come to the cross this afternoon and we give Jesus our sins, our pains and our sorrows. “Our people have such great problems, Joe,” the great Fr. John LaTondress, my mentor, once said to me. “We, priests don’t have problems. We only think we have problems. Our people have the real problems.” He was so right. Many here have lost loved ones. Many have loved ones with serious physical and psychological ailments. Many here are themselves sick. “How am I going to make it through these difficulties?” many of you ask every day. Come to the cross. Give your problems and challenges to the Lord and know that no matter what happens, as Julien of Norwich wrote, “All will be well.” For when everything is placed in the hands of the one who died for us, every challenge, every difficulty that life throws at us becomes a prayer united to the prayers of our Crucified Savior.
Come to the cross! Unite the challenges of your lives to the cross. And know that the One who loved you, who loved us, to the death, will also love us to life.