Monday, March 18, 2013

The Way

Friends of Faith:

We are quickly approaching Easter. Next week is Palm Sunday and Holy Week when we as Christians will walk the Way of the Cross with Christ.
Holy week is a journey of THE life given for us, of Christ’s sufferings so that we might be washed clean and so that we might be allowed to reenter the heavenly garden which was taken away from us when we were divided by the first sin of disobedience in the Garden of Eden.  

Our lives as servants, to love one another, (the definition of marriage) are meant to show us the WAY of the Cross; to teach us and remind us of the WAY to truth and life.  Jesus said to him, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” Jn 14:6
The way of the cross is an invitation to follow Jesus.  Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me”.  Mt 16:24

Christ was condemned to death for what others believed of Him. Do we judge and condemn our spouse, or our neighbor, without full knowledge of the truth and reasons behind their actions? Do I presume ill will on the part of others, or do I try to see what they do from their point of view? Might there be another reason for someone’s actions—actions that might have a deeper unseen outcome, come from a lack of understanding, or that God is using to bring me closer to him?
Christ carries OUR cross. He takes on OUR burdens. Am I willing to suffer, to help others? The “only” promise Christ had was God’s promise of eternal life for us, he died not for himself, but for us. Will I die for my spouse, for my friend, so that I may be given eternal life, so that they may be given eternal life. Is this enough promise for me or do I expect more, do I expect earthly happiness and earthly wealth and belongings?

Christ fell under the weight of the cross three times. He allowed Simon of Cyrene to help him carry the cross. This is our reminder that we too will fall under the weight of our sins. But I must keep getting back up by asking God for forgiveness. Once is not enough, that is why I am given the gift of the sacrament of reconciliation, so that I can be washed free of my sins each time I fail and fall down. And I should be ready and willing to accept the help of faithful trusted friends, counselors, good Samaritans, etc, just as Christ accepted the help of Simon.
Christ met His Mother in the fourth station. Think of how Mary, His mother, suffered with him. It is probably easier for us to understand this by thinking of how we suffer when our children suffer. But can we imagine how our parents suffer when we sin? Can I imagine how much my sins hurt others? Can we imagine how God, our Father, hurts when we desecrate the sacrament of marriage and the gift of life, the gift of our body which He created in his own image?

Veronica silently wiped the face of Jesus. Are we willing to help others in their time of need? Are we willing to accept others help as Christ accepted Veronica’s? Do I silently offer care, love and presence or do I try to offer “too much advice?”
Christ was stripped of his clothes and made naked. Who are we stripping of dignity by our careless actions? Do we remember that God sees us “naked?” Could we stand without shame in front of him? As Christ is nailed to the cross he prayed, “Father, forgive them, they know not what they do.” Lk 23:34

Do I realize what I have done? It takes great humility to admit my wrongs and then to ask for forgiveness for what I have done. Christ walked this WAY so that we COULD ASK for forgiveness. But I must open my heart and eyes to my failings and His love.
Will I be humble enough to admit that I am human, or have I made myself my own God? Do I think I am so good I can do it myself, that I don’t need to ask for HIS forgiveness, or that I needn’t admit my failings to Him and to those I have hurt? When Jesus forgave or healed he would admonish them by telling them to “sin no more.” “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” She replied, “No one, sir.” Then Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you. Go, [and] from now on do not sin anymore.” Jn 8: 1-11 Do I make a conscious effort to “go and sin no more” after I am forgiven by Christ in reconciliation, by my spouse, or by my neighbor?

Heavenly Father, You GAVE us YOUR son to teach us THE WAY. Help me to follow in His footsteps. Help me to be more like Christ, more like Simon, more like Mary and more like Veronica. Help me to seek true faith in you, help me to seek to serve, help me to seek to understand, and help me to seek to love as You have taught. Give me the courage to accept my cross and to follow you. Thank You for Your Passion to show me the WAY. Amen
His WAY is THE WAY. Make it your WAY,


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