5 April 2020
by Fr. Stan Gumula at Esmeraldas, Ecuador
This year I would like to take the hymn we sang at Lauds this past week as my starting point for our major liturgies and homilies for this most Holy of Weeks. What beautiful images it has, what profound meanings are hidden within. Today let us look at the final verse.
Crucificados en la Roca viva
y marcados con esta Cruz de Luz,
cantamos la gloria del Padre, del Hijo y del Espiritu,
camino a Jerusalén y siguiendo a Jesús.
Cruz de fe, Cruz de amor,
y fuerza de Dios.
We began today with a procession, that beautiful symbol for our whole Christian and monastic lives. But this procession is not a walk in the park. For our hymn and our Gospel tell us that we are following Jesus on his way to Jerusalem, where, of course, suffering and death await him. Our hymn goes further. It says we are already crucified with Christ, who is himself the living Rock, the Rock from which the living waters of the Spirit will flow forth. We are marked to the core with this Cross. We received this Cross on our foreheads as we began this journey on Ash Wednesday. It became the sign under which we travelled this whole time of Lent, especially as we live under the shadow of the great Cross of our times, the coronavirus.
Yet our hymn tells us this Cross with which we are marked is Cruz de luz. What a paradox! What in human terms can only mean darkness and brutality and death, becomes light and strength and life. Something about which we can sing to the Trinity, Father, Son and Spirit. We are sad after lifting up our hands in the forsaken cry of Jesus in our Responsorial Psalm, incredibly sad as we kneel before Jesus dying on the Cross in our Gospel. And filled to the brim with sadness as we will walk with Jesus the via dolorosa this week.
But our cross is a Cruz de luz, says our hymn, when we see the Cross in faith and love and in the power of God.
First of all, faith. Human reason simply rebels before the cross, as it does before the coronavirus. But Pope Francis taught us last week not to fear but to have faith. Jesus is here, right here and now. Do you believe this?
Second, love. Our hymn says it is a cross of love. I remember a powerful documentary about a young Irish nun who died in the earthquake in Playa Prieta, Sister Clare Crockett. The turning point in her life was when she experienced the love of Jesus manifested on the cross. The cross became the focal point of her life as the pure expression of love. The love of Jesus for us. A Cruz de amor.
Third and lastly, the Cross is the power of God. Is God in the lightning, the storm, the hurricane? No. God is in the gentle breeze, as Elijah experienced on Mount Horeb. The power of God, the strength of God, is the complete surrender of all earthly force. Such surrender is the Cross. Here is the true fuerza de Dios.
Let us enter this Semana Santa looking to the Cross as truly:
Cruz de luz. Cruz de fe. Cruz de amor y fuerza de Dios.