By Deacon Bill Richer
How often have we seen a musician or a celebrity with something like this draped around his or her neck:
A simple cross adorned in gold or silver, maybe with some diamonds, probably weighing a lot more than is comfortable.
It is interesting that what was once a symbol of death, humiliation and defeat has become a fashion accessory. In the early church, the cross was a symbol of great weight, but not because of gold and jewels.
How often do we wear a cross as jewelry and are not aware of what it means? The cross should remind us of two things. The first is not easy to hear: the cross reminds us that in life we will suffer. There are going to be times when things don’t go our way, when we are persecuted for our faith. When we feel broken or humiliated.
The cross reminds us that to follow Christ is to die to ourselves, our selfish desires, our greed, our sin. The first reality is heavy, and
uncomfortable, but not the whole picture. The Cross is not just a symbol of suffering, it is one of mercy and resurrection. When we see a cross, we also should be reminded also of how much God loves us, because the Son of God hung on the cross. That the cross is about the new life we have because of it.
The cross is a symbol of new life, mercy, and hope. The cross is more than a piece of jewelry. It’s a way of living that is radical , sometimes dangerous, but sooo hopeful. Have a great Palm Sunday Weekend, everyone. Holy Week is near.
[Bill Richer is Deacon at St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church in W. Des Moines, IA]