If the Devil had any power over us, the cross of Christ would have been his instrument of victory, the revelation of darkness overcoming light, the end of hope. Indeed, the Romans believed they had rid themselves of the troublesome healer. The Chief Priests believed the cross brought an end to the new way which threatened their authority over all things religious. And most of Jesus’ followers were scattered, wandering in fear, falling into despair, empty of all hope. Even those who had accompanied him all the way to the end, including his mother, were left wondering if all love had dissolved into meaninglessness.
From the cross Jesus greets us. He gathers to himself all our suffering, all our pain. He forgives all our sin. He gives us Mary, his mother, to be our mother. From his place of crucifixion, Golgatha, the Place of the Skull, Jesus’ blood pours out onto the very place where Adam is buried, and the blood of Christ redeems Adam and all his descendants. There is a garden there; Jesus’ journey to Calvary is a journey back to Eden.
And as the clock strikes 3:00 here in St. Louis on this Good Friday, we recognize the Cross as Jesus’ throne; this hour is Jesus’ hour of glory; the veil in the sanctuary is torn in two. The Cross stands revealed as the Tree of Life in the center of the Garden; we will once again be nourished by the Eucharist which is the fruit of the Tree of Life, the very body and blood of Jesus poured out for us on the cross. As Jesus is laid in the tomb, we offer up everything that needs to die in us, so that we might become living witnesses to love. All creation waits now…Just as we waited for Mary’s “yes” at the Annunciation, so now love is waiting; is love more powerful than death? While our souls seem to know it, our hearts do not yet trust it and our minds cannot understand it. So we wait again, with all creation, for the breath of God to fill our lungs, to bring us to new life in Christ. And this waiting is breaking our hearts.
In this sacred time of waiting, as we cling to hope, we have an opportunity to choose love. Let us turn away from the Satan and all his empty promises. Let us turn our hearts toward Christ. Especially in this time of separation, we can reach deep within us to the fountain of life which is the very spirit of Christ already dwelling within us. We know that love is, indeed, more powerful than death. Let us become living witnesses to hope. Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.