Paschal, Wood

Easter is a curious time. As a believer I’ve often struggled to find proper respect for the Passion; I’ve found the Resurrection similarly challenging at times. The Paschal Mystery is indeed well, mysterious to me. 

At different times, and different years, I’ve felt varying degrees of success and failure at connecting with this season.

This year with the usual bumpy life of family with three little kids, made the more dynamic this year, all awash the last four weeks with COVID-19 and Shelter In Place. I’d considered Lent and the coming Easter celebration off and on, reading to the kids a bit, participating in mass from afar through live stream. It’s felt mostly flat.

Until I listened to a homily by Brother Michael Joseph OFM Cap., a Capuchin Franciscan Friar. What follows are some of the notes i jotted down while listening to him talk. For all intent and purposes, these are his insights; all the same, I agree with them one hundred percent.

As a Christian believer, the cross is the very foundation of our faith. At the very center of the cross, this is the portal of transformation and rebirth. The wood of the cross is similar to the wood of the manger into which God entered the world. 

God became poor that we might become rich; God came into the chaos of the human world and took up the mantle of holy poverty to give us a perfect example of surrender and salvation. 

Jesus crucified shows us the depth of mercy and love and forgiveness that we are capable of with God’s grace. Indeed, through Christ crucified, Jesus nailed to that hard wood, God flooded humanity through all the world with mercy and compassion for all time.

This is the mystical and enchanted space of the Resurrection. Let us be filled with awe and praise and thanksgiving. Let us today and every day forward understand that through the wood of the manger and the wood of the cross, God gives us the perfect example.

Through the cross God conquered the ancient foe, and showed us that death does not win, that darkness and evil do not have the last word.  That is the central lesson of the Resurrection.

Light wins. Compassion and mercy and forgiveness win. And love, love wins.

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