Deacon Mike always has a prop for his homily, doesn’t he? Before I start– Let me get it… may need help. (carry in large wooden cross with help)
Wow – what a story. What else can you say? When we hear this, we might feel a bit shell-shocked… but just imagine what the REAL witnesses felt. The people who were there that day, on the mountain of Calvary…. THEY had seen it all… from the glory of palm Sunday as Jesus entered Jerusalem mounted on a donkey– until Friday when he was mounted on a cross. They saw it all – and after watching the gruesome death – they were shell-shocked – like ‘what in the world just happened?’
It’s an all-too-familiar story we all have to deal with – things are going great – then before we know it, there’s a cross on our back and we’re climbing a mountain. The cross threatens to drag us down.
Like in our relationships – we fall in love – everything is cool – awesome – we want to sing to the world!!!… but too often, things don’t turn out like we hoped and expected – the feelings go sour and the relationship becomes a cross.
Many of us have jobs that at first are a great blessing – we’re just glad to have a job – and we even look forward to going to it each morning. Eventually, for a lot of people, it becomes a drudgery – and feels like we have to pick up our cross every morning just to get out of bed…much less to make it through the day.
Even our bodies do this to us. When we’re young, we’re invincible – we can do anything! As we get older, the aches and pains begin – the eyes go – hearing decreases… eventually, just getting up in the morning is a cross.
Our parish has definitely had more than its share of crosses to bear over the last several years. Every time a new pastor comes in, there’s a sense of hope – a sense that maybe now things will get back to ‘normal’…. We join together waving palms – hoping this might be our real spiritual Father. But as you know, once again we find ourselves standing on Calvary – shell-shocked – saying ‘what in the world just happened?’
Like anybody who’s been through a rough time or a sudden tragedy, we need to tell our story in order to start to heal. In my own family growing up, whenever there was a tragedy or a threat to our family – we just naturally migrated to the kitchen table and sat there – telling our story. Where were you when it happened? What were you thinking? What could I have done differently? This is a normal reaction to an abnormal situation.
Many of us here today feel hurt by the latest loss of our pastor. I’ve talked to several of you over the last two weeks – or I should say – I tried to listen. We’re all wondering ‘what in the world just happened?’ ‘Who’s fault was it?’ ‘What did I do wrong?’
Keep talking – keep asking the questions… that’s exactly what we have to do. That’s how the healing can begin. Hopefully, each of us can pick up our cross – whether it’s our relationship, our job, our health, or our parish issues… drag it in here and lay it on the altar. Give it to Jesus. Unlike the people on the top of Calvary that day, we have the benefit of knowing ‘the rest of the story’ and that gives us hope. We also know that we are a family here in this parish. And just like my family, we gather around our kitchen table to tell our stories. Just like Simon of Cyrene – and just like the Betz boys who helped me carry in the cross today... we help our brothers and sisters to carry their crosses as well....that's what family does. We are the Body of Christ – We are all nailed to our cross – but No Cross can keep us down… Resurrection is just around the corner.
We WILL sing Hosanna again. We will sing Alleluia’s again! We will. We MUST. We are the Body of Christ - and No Cross can keep us down.