On a hill far away, stood an old rugged Cross, the emblem of suffering and shame
As people walked through Jerusalem that first Good Friday, all they saw was another Jewish guy being led by two others to Calvary….no one liked to look at that place. They probably lost count of how many dies there. The crowd either ignored him or joined in the jeering. A woman, obviously his mother, broke down when she saw him. A cry came from the very depths of her being. We cannot help think of all the people who live today ignoring the Cross that others carry. This emblem of suffering and shame is now for us who believe the emblem of hope and life
And I love that old cross where the dearest and best,
For a world of lost sinners was slain
Love was never destroyed by that horrible scene. In fact, on that Cross was not another political criminal, but Love incarnate. From that pulpit, the greatest sermon of love was preached. Give everything you have to others. Hold nothing back. Stripped of everything and even giving his mother away, he give his life so we would know God’s love. In a very real way today, we have been stripped of a lot of things. Were they or are they really important in the shadow of the Cross? Isn’t Love the most important thing that flowed from that Cross?
So I’ll cherish the old rugged cross Till my trophies at last I lay down
And I will cling to the old rugged cross And exchange it some day for a crown
So many people for 2000 years have found hope in that Cross even if on that hill 2000 years ago it seemed hopeless. In the midst of a world pandemic, in the midst of people suffering in hospitals, in the midst of tired people on the front lines and scared people, that Cross is all we have. At no other time in our history, the Holy Church must cherish this Cross and hold it up to the world as the only source of hope. All death and illness; all hopelessness and pain are not the end; the end is in the power of the empty tomb. We cannot have one without the other
To the old rugged cross I will ever be true It’s shame and reproach gladly bear
Then he’ll call me someday to my home far away Where his glory forever I’ll share
No one would have thought that this poor man hanging outside the city of Jerusalem would transformed the world and you and me by the blood that dripped on the ground that Friday. No one would have thought that this horrible instrument of torture would be the sign of hope in the midst of pain. As Christians, we need to ask ourselves: have we sanitized the Cross and therefore Christianity.? Do we cherish the Cross not as a piece of jewelry but as the standard that leads our lives? The reality is that the Cross sets us apart and opens us up to ridicule, being ostracized, seen as old fashioned or out of date, just the man who carried it through the streets of Jerusalem to that horrible hill. As we venerate the Holy Cross this night, let it be for us ever true the man who hung on that Cross and to a way of life that embraces the Cross, knowing that it leads not to a tomb, but to eternal life with Him.