15 April 2015

"See, mother, I make all things new"

Good Friday of the Lord’s Passion
One of the great privileges of a priest’s life is to enter into profound moments in a family’s life.  Though not very well-known to any of you (but becoming more well known each and every day!), you invite me in to some of the most joyous moments of your life: the baptism of a child; First Holy Communion; the marriage of your children; birthdays, anniversaries, and other celebrations.  The same is true for the profound moments in your life that are not joyous but sorrowful: the diagnosis of cancer; the loss of a job; the break-up of a relationship or even a marriage; the death of a loved one.  Those are moments of humility for me, because it’s not really Anthony Strouse that you’re inviting into your lives, homes, and hearts at those moments: it’s Fr. Anthony, the priest, the bridge between God and His People, the living representation of Jesus.  Especially with sorrowful moments, the profundity of being invited into what is altogether personal strikes me often.
That makes today even more powerful.  When we come to venerate the cross, I have no idea what is going through your minds.  But I can tell you what is going through mine.  As you come to genuflect or bow to the cross, or even kiss the cross, I see and feel the crosses you are carrying in your life.  I see and feel the pain and the sorrow that is present in your life and I see you offering it to Jesus, joining it with His perfect sacrifice, and knowing that He gave everything for us so that we could have life, dying in a most humiliating and painful way.  And yet He still wants us to give our crosses to Him.  He does not shrink from our pain but embraces it and receives it from us so that we do not carry it by ourselves.  
I remember that powerful scene from the movie “The Passion of the Christ” where Jesus begins to fall as Mary, His Blessed Mother, watches.  Then, as Jesus is falling to the ground, the scene changes to a flashback from Mary’s memory of Jesus falling to ground as a child when He was playing and Mary running to catch Him and console Him in His pain.  Then the flashback ends and she runs to her bloody, tired son, fallen to the ground.  He looks at her and says, “See, mother, I make all things new.”  

Today we remember in a solemn way how Christ made all things new by His death on the cross.  As we give come to venerate the cross, offer Jesus your crosses and allow Him to make all things new in your life.  And know that as you offer your cross, Mary, our Mother given to us by Jesus at the cross, will run to us, too, to catch us and console us in our pain.