April 14, 2019 – We Only Need Look to the Cross

NB: Because Holy Week is busy, and because I will be at two different churches for Passion Sunday and Good Friday, I am using the same homily for both. Hey, if you’re assigned to a cluster, you have to make full use of its benefits. 😉

Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion, Year C / Good Friday of the Lord’s Passion

Palm Sunday: Readings / Lecturas
Good Friday: Readings / Lecturas

Recording will be posted at jhm718.podbean.com

Preached at Immaculate Conception in Mount Vernon (5:00pm, 11:00am, 1:00pm) on Palm Sunday and St. Charles in Burlington (7:00pm) on Good Friday

English

In my experience, very few people doubt the existence of God, or at least they never start there. The vast majority of people, however, do doubt the goodness of God. They have some, inescapable sense that there is a Creator of the universe, but they do not believe that He knows them or loves them or cares for them.

This is because all of us have experienced the abandonment of God. Which is not to say that God ever actually abandons us – he certainly does not! But we all feel, at some point in our life, as though God has abandoned us. Maybe because our prayer becomes dry. Or because someone close to us becomes sick or dies. Or because we are overwhelmed by evil, in our individuals lives or in the world at large. Regardless of why, when we feel abandoned by God, we lose faith in his goodness and his love.

I do not know why this experience is so universal. I do not know why these feelings of abandonment are so common in Christian spirituality. Maybe it helps us grow, like a parent sending a child into the world. Or maybe it is because we live in a world of sin, where our communion with God can never be perfect. But I do know how God chose to fight against this feeling: He chose to fight our feelings of abandonment by going to the Cross.

If we are ever tempted to believe that God does not understand what we are going through, what traumas we are enduring or sadnesses we are sustaining, we need only look to the Cross. If we ever believe that God does not know the anguish of suffering, sickness, and death, we need only look to the Cross. If we forget that Jesus experienced mockery by strangers, betrayal by his closest friends, and even the feeling of abandonment by God himself, we need only look to the Cross.

God loved us so much that he came down from heaven and took upon himself a human nature that was weak and frail. And he did this specifically so that he could suffer with us and die with us. Jesus loves you so much that he traded everything to go through Hell with you.

You are never alone. Simply look to the Cross.

Español

En mi experiencia, muy pocas personas dudan de la existencia de Dios, o al menos nunca comienzan allí. La gran mayoría de las personas, sin embargo, dudan de la bondad de Dios. Tienen una sensación ineludible de que hay un Creador del universo, pero no creen que Él los conozca, los ame o se preocupe por ellos.

Esto se debe a que todos nosotros hemos experimentado el abandono de Dios. Lo que no quiere decir que Dios alguna vez realmente nos abandone – ¡ciertamente no lo hace! Pero todos sentimos, en algún momento de nuestra vida, como si Dios nos hubiera abandonado. Tal vez porque nuestra oración se seca. O porque alguien cercano a nosotros se enferma o muere. O porque estamos abrumados por el mal, en nuestras vidas individuales o en el mundo en general. Independientemente de por qué, cuando nos sentimos abandonados por Dios, perdemos la fe en su bondad y su amor.

No sé por qué esta experiencia es tan universal. No sé por qué estos sentimientos de abandono son tan comunes en la espiritualidad cristiana. Tal vez nos ayude a crecer, como un padre que envía a un niño al mundo. O tal vez es porque vivimos en un mundo de pecado, donde nuestra comunión con Dios nunca puede ser perfecta. Pero sí sé cómo Dios eligió luchar contra este sentimiento: Él eligió luchar contra nuestros sentimientos de abandono a través de yendo a la Cruz.

Si alguna vez nos sentimos tentados a creer que Dios no entiende por lo que estamos pasando, qué traumas estamos soportando o qué tristezas estamos sufriendo, solo tenemos que mirar a la Cruz. Si alguna vez creemos que Dios no conoce la angustia del sufrimiento, la enfermedad y la muerte, solo debemos mirar a la Cruz. Si olvidamos que Jesús experimentó la burla de los extraños, la traición de sus amigos más cercanos e incluso el sentimiento de abandono de Dios mismo, solo tenemos que mirar a la Cruz.

Dios nos amó tanto que bajó del cielo y asumió una naturaleza humana débil y frágil. Y lo hizo específicamente para poder sufrir con nosotros y morir con nosotros. Jesús te ama tanto que cambió todo para pasar por el infierno contigo.

Nunca estás solo. Simplemente mira a la cruz.

Featured Image

Francisco de Zurbarán - La Crucifixión

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