Good Friday: Behold the Wood of the Cross
We find meaning in the Cross through the One who hung there
Crosses come in all sizes, shapes and material. Some are jeweled, others are intricately carved. Good Friday brings us back to the reality that it is about a wooden cross and, more importantly, about the One who died upon it.
The crucifix calls people to a decision. a decision about the Lord Jesus Christ, who hung upon the Cross, becoming the salvation of the world. People must choose what to do about Him, whether to accept His death and, with it, the fullness of all that He revealed, or to reject Him.
Apart from the fact that, yes… we know that… we believe that with all of hearts, the question does not really address the real issue. In a few such conversations I confess that I have defaulted to an equally inane response.
“Well, if you really want to celebrate the fact that Jesus rose from the dead, why don’t you wear an empty tomb around your neck?”
By the way, a few years ago I did a web search and found a company called Empty Tomb Jewelry. Case closed!
Seriously though, the issue of the cross and the crucifix is one that points to an important point. The cross has absolutely no importance apart from the One who hung upon it the first Good Friday. Countess lives were lost on the cross over a large span of time. It was the “torture of choice” for the Romans and yet those deaths did not give rise to any embrace of this image.
On Good Friday we venerate the cross – a word that means honor, esteem, adoration, or regard very highly. Yet, the liturgy betrays the reason. “Behold the wood of the Cross on which hung the salvation of the world.”
The cross alone is a wonderful Christian symbol, but leaves no challenge to the beholder. Crosses are worn by people of all walks of life and all conditions of life. It has become an item of adornment as well as a Christian symbol. The scandal begins when Salvation is hung upon it.
The crucifix calls people to a decision… a decision about the Lord Jesus Christ, who hung upon the Cross, becoming the salvation of the world. People must choose what to do about Him, whether to accept His death and, with it, the fullness of all that He revealed, or to reject Him.
A nineteenth century Baptist evangelist, D.L. Moody, captured the heart of this confrontation in a sermon entitled “What Think Ye of Christ?” He guided his hearers through a serious of interviews, including those who were present for His passion and death. To each one – the Pharisees, Caiaphas, Pilate, Judas, the Centurion at the cross, the Apostles – he asked the key question, “What think ye of Christ?” Each one answered in kind.
The crucifix continues to call us, Catholic, Protestant, and all the sorts and conditions of humanity, to respond. Our response should not just be based on what is found in our liturgies, but more importantly what is found in our hearts. It is there, in the very core of our being that the question must be settled.
What do we think of Christ? What place does He really occupy in our lives? How does His passion, death, resurrection, and revelation impact me profoundly?
During Lent the Church visits the Christ’s Passion and Death through the Stations of the Cross. Each each station the minister says, “We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you.” To which we respond, “Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.”
This is why we don’t wear an empty tomb around our necks. Resurrection without a Redeemer is merely a restoration of life. When the cross is added, it is for the life of the world!
Randy Sly is the Associate Editor of Catholic Online
Copywriter 2015 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM
Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for March 2015
Universal: Scientists: That those involved in scientific research may serve the well-being of the whole human person.
Evangelization: Contribution of women: That the unique contribution of women to the life of the Church may be recognized always.
Rate This Article
Leave a Comment
More Lent / Easter News
- Create marbled Easter eggs this Easter with an amazingly easy technique
- Living Now in the Hope of Eternity: The Resurrection, Are You Ready?
- With Faith Let Us Enter into the Great and Holy Week
- Who Is God? A Holy Week Reflection
- Holy Week Invites us to Let Go of Self, Embrace the Lord Anew
- Learning To Wait: Accompanying Jesus On His Journey Through Holy Week
- There's still time! Continue to clean house and make room for God as we reach the end of Lent
- Facing Palm Sunday With Dread and Joyful Anticipation
- Once again Lent is almost over, but did YOU keep this Commandment this year?
- Fr. Paul Schenck: Finding Living Faith on Catechetical Sunday
- The Movie Yellow: Incest as 'Normal' and Cassavates's Slides Into the World of Woes
- The Chicago School Teachers Strike Reveals the Need For School Choice
- The Sexual Barbarians and the Dissolution of Culture
- The Happy Priest Challenges Us to Ask: Who is Jesus to Me?
- Michael Coren on Canadian Public Schools: Teachers, leave those kids alone
- We Cannot Ignore Our Consciences: Cardinal Dolan On Religious Liberty
- In the Face of Danger, Successor of Peter Travels to Lebanon as a Messenger of Peace
- Reflections on the Dignity and Vocation of Women: Who or What?
More Easter / Lent
'So it is written that the Christ would suffer and on the third day rise from the dead' - Luke 24:46
Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of the Season of Lent. It is a season of penance, reflection, and fasting which prepares us for Christ's Resurrection on Easter Sunday, through which we attain redemption. continue reading
Palm Sunday, the Sunday before Easter, commemorates Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem, an event mentioned in all four canonical Gospels. (Mark 11:1.11, Matthew 21:1.11, Luke 19:28.44, and John 12:12.19) ... continue reading
On Palm Sunday, we celebrate the first joy of the season, as we celebrate Our Lord's triumphant entrance into Jerusalem where he was welcomed by crowds worshiping him and laying down palm leaves before him. It also marks the beginning of Holy Week... continue reading
HOLY THURSDAY is the most complex and profound of all religious observances. It celebrates his last supper with the disciples, a celebration of Passover ... continue reading
On Good Friday, each member of the Church tries to understand at what cost Christ has won our redemption. In the solemn ceremonies of Holy Week we unite ourselves to our Savior, and we contemplate our own death to sin in the Death of our Lord ... continue reading
Easter is the principal feast of the ecclesiastical year. Leo I (Sermo xlvii in Exodum) calls it the greatest feast (festum festorum), and says that Christmas is celebrated only in preparation for Easter. It is the centre of the greater part of the ecclesiastical year ... continue reading
For most people the easiest practice to consistently fulfill will be the traditional one, to abstain from meat on all Fridays of the year. During Lent abstinence from meat on Fridays is obligatory in the United States as elsewhere. Christ Himself said that His disciples would fast once He had departed (Lk. 5:35). continue reading
Everything answered from when does lent end, ashes, giving something up, stations of the cross and blessed palms. The key to understanding the meaning of Lent is simple: Baptism... continue reading
Stations of the Cross refers to the depiction of the final hours (or Passion) of Jesus, and the devotion commemorating the Passion. First Station: Jesus is condemned to death... pray the stations now
What did you give up for Lent?
From the humorous to the bizarre, people have had interesting Lenten experiences. Tell us about what you are going to give up for this Lenten Year.
What others gave up »
Hannah Raissa Marfil (NEWS CONSORTIUM) - Catholic Online, 3/30/2015
One of the most popular traditions during the Lenten Season is the Easter Egg Hunt. The Easter egg symbolizes the resurrection of Jesus Christ, as defined by the early Christians. The tradition, ...Continue Reading
Deacon F. K. Bartels - Catholic Online, 3/30/2015
Want to know who God is? That answer will not come easily, for it involves sacrifice and death to self. There are no shortcuts; there are no "techniques" to learn. However, as Blessed John Paul II ...Continue Reading
F. K. Bartels - Catholic Online, 3/30/2015
The Easter season is a sublime and sacred time in which our heart sings: "The Lord is risen!" The wondrous mystery of the resurrection and eternal life awaits, for if we have lost our life for the ...Continue Reading
Deacon Keith Fournier - Catholic Online, 3/30/2015
Holy Week invites us to let go of self and embrace the Lord anew. To begin again! How desperately the current age needs to hear this Good news that we can all begin again! The real question is not ...Continue Reading
On Good Friday, the entire Church fixes her gaze on the Cross at Calvary. Each member of the Church tries to understand at what cost Christ has won our redemption.
In the symbol of the Cross we can see the magnitude of the human tragedy, the ravages of original sin, and the infinite love of God. Learn More
Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of the Season of Lent. It is a season of penance, reflection, and fasting which prepares us for Christ's Resurrection on Easter Sunday, through which we attain redemption.
The ashes are made from the blessed palms used in the Palm Sunday celebration of the previous year. The ashes are christened with Holy Water and are scented by exposure to incense. Learn More
Stations of the Cross refers to the depiction of the final hours (or Passion) of Jesus, and the devotion commemorating the Passion.
ACT OF CONTRITION. O my God, my Redeemer, behold me here at Thy feet. From the bottom of my heart... Pray the Stations
'Christ Himself said that His disciples would fast once He had departed' Lk. 5:35
Abstinence. The law of abstinence requires a Catholic 14 years of age until death to abstain from eating meat on Fridays in honor of the Passion of Jesus on Good Friday. Salt and freshwater species of fish, amphibians, reptiles and shellfish are permitted.
Fasting. The law of fasting requires a Catholic from the 18th Birthday (Canon 97) to the 59th Birthday (i.e. the beginning of the 60th year, a year which will be completed on the 60th birthday) to reduce the amount of food eaten from normal. The Church defines this as one meal a day, and two smaller meals which if added together would not exceed the main meal.
Learn More »