Don’t Bypass the Cross This Holy Week!


This coming Sunday, Catholic churches all over the world will be filled with worshipers proclaiming their faith in the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.
That’s wonderful. But many of them — even some who attend Mass every week of the year — will have made the tragic error of bypassing the Cross on their journey to Easter. That’s a mistake, for the simple reason that life is not one, continuous “Easter experience” (in case you haven’t figured that out yet!). In fact, on this side of the grave most people face many more “Good Fridays” than “Easter Sundays.” Our individual crosses are permanent realities of daily living — realities we must learn to deal with, or they will almost certainly overwhelm us. The Cross of Jesus Christ — in addition to saving us from sin and eternal death — also helps us in this way. It gives us the right perspective on our personal sufferings, and on the evil we see all around us in the world. It gives us hope in the midst of suffering, as well as meaning and value to our earthly crosses.
In his autobiography, Bishop Fulton Sheen said that he had learned to recognize his life in the Cross of Christ. He wrote, “In the crown of thorns, I see my pride; my grasping for earthly toys in the pierced hands; my flight from shepherding care in the pierced feet, my wasted love in the wounded heart; and my prurient desires in the flesh hanging from him in purple rags.”
Since Bishop Sheen made a Holy Hour every day, it’s not surprising that he made such a profound connection between the Cross of Christ and his everyday experience.
He didn’t bypass the Cross — ever! Not only during Holy Week, but each and every day he stopped, he looked, and he listened (like the signs at railroad crossings tell us to do). He stopped and broke away from his hectic schedule to spend quality time with his Lord; and during that prayer-hour he looked at the Cross of Jesus Christ with the eyes of faith, while at the same time listening for his Lord to speak to him and give him insight — insight concerning world events and his own personal life.
That’s an example we should follow, especially in the next few days.