As I write this blog, we are on the verge of Holy Week and in a unique way I have been pondering the crucifix. The crucifix is often seen as a symbol of pain and death but as disciples of Jesus Christ we know that the crucifix is the altar of hope by which the most radical, extraordinary, sacrificial love was unleashed upon the world. This Love bears only One Name – Jesus Christ.
As Jesus was betrayed and then unjustly sentenced to death, He thought of you and of me. As He was scourged until His flesh fell from His bones and had a crown of thorns thrust upon His head, He thought of you and of me. As He carried the heavy wooden cross and was whipped, beaten, spat upon and mocked on his way up the hill to Calvary, He thought of you and of me. And as He resurrected from the dead, He thought of you and of me.
At times this world can seem overwhelming, especially with the amount of abject pain and human suffering endured by so many, most especially by the young who often exhibit such great confusion and despair. Sadly, it seems that our world has turned away from the cross and away from Jesus Christ. To provide solace for those suffering, our world has not only tossed aside the cross, but also the One who carried it, was nailed to it, and suffered and died upon it, for love of you and of me. Countless people believe that human suffering should be avoided at all costs. Yet this mindset has led to even more suffering as many hoist banners that are not symbolic of a life in Christ but are symbolic of confusion and worldly desires. My friends, we’ve got it all wrong! In our attempt to avoid suffering, we have lost our way.
During this Easter Season and today as we celebrate Divine Mercy Sunday, let us cry out to the One who suffered and died for love of you and of me. Let us never forget that the blood and water which flowed from the side of Jesus Christ as He breathed His last is the very love and mercy which liberates us and leads us to a life of eternal happiness! Today, this very love and mercy continues to be poured out upon us, especially in the Most Holy Eucharist and in the Sacrament of Penance where Jesus Himself makes all things new!
On this Divine Mercy Sunday, let us ask ourselves…do we run from the cross of suffering or do we unite our suffering with Jesus Christ and allow Him to renew and restore us, in His time? Do we stray from Jesus to find consolation in this world without thinking of the next? Do we justify sinful behavior to avoid pain and suffering for ourselves or others? Or do we lift our crosses with a hope that is only found in the power of the Resurrected Christ…a hope that will lead us to eternal salvation!
As we ponder the great gift of the crucifix and the great gift of Jesus’ suffering, death, and resurrection, let us direct our hearts and minds solely to Jesus’ radical, unconditional love and mercy. In doing so, undoubtedly, we will be led to a life of hope in the Risen Lord, beautifully illustrated in His Divine Mercy and fully present and alive in the Most Holy Eucharist! Let us never despair of the trials that will inevitably come our way. Instead, let us think of our beloved little Christina, who in her short life taught us so well what it means to embrace the cross and trust in Jesus’ profound love and mercy. This same love and mercy calls each of us by name and personally invites us to a life of freedom, joy and the hope of eternal happiness with Jesus in Heaven!
Today and every day, Jesus, I Trust in You.
Colleen M. Donohoe was born and raised just North of Boston, the youngest of 7 children. She is the proud “Auntie” to 17 nieces and nephews and 5 great nieces and nephews who bring tremendous joy to her life! For the past 25 years, Colleen has served in a variety of roles in the Archdiocese of Boston, primarily as a Catholic Educator. After spending many years as a theology teacher and campus minister, she currently serves as the Associate Superintendent of Catholic Identity and Respect Life Educator for the Archdiocese of Boston Catholic Schools. It is a great honor and blessing for Colleen to continue little Christina Dangond’s legacy to “Build the Faith” wherever and however God calls.