Yesterday evening as blood dripped from His pores, Jesus asked His Father if there might be another way for Him to save us all. While He asked if the cup might pass before Him, He knew full well that the cup which lay before Him must be filled with His own Blood "so that sins may be forgiven." When we drink of the cup filled for us at Calvary, we receive an elixir unlike any other. We receive Him into our very bodies--and souls--to replenish, restore, and redeem.
But if we are really to be Christ-like, can we expect not to bear crosses of our own? This is what we're asked today.
A major fault we suffer from is the downplay of Good Friday and the exaltation of Easter Sunday. We shy away from bruised and bloody Jesus, from the torments and tortures He endured, instead looking to the Resurrection, the glorious Christ in a clean white robe, ready to be revealed to His followers once more. But if we forget about the Crucifixion, we fail to see the connection between Christ's life and our own. We're only able to receive Him through the Eucharist because He gave Himself up as the ultimate sacrifice!
So, too do our sacrifices have meaning, especially when we unite them to the one on Calvary. For those who have truly experienced some deep suffering, they know that superficial consolations or fleeting comforts don't do a think to ease the pain they face. But when that suffering is given a purpose--uniting our sufferings to Jesus' on the Cross for the sake of others, we're able to persevere and call upon Jesus to be with us one our Stations, on our way to Calvary. It's called redemptive suffering, and it's exactly what being Christian is all about, offering one's life for many, in even the smallest of ways.
At times when I pray before a crucifix I find myself saying to God, "For me? Really?" Christ's love for us is so total, all that He is for us, that I find myself cowering from it, thinking it too great to receive. But like the Centurian who said "Lord, I am not worthy to receive You," Christ is offering to heal us, no matter how unworthy we may be. The truth is we're all unworthy and He wants to wash away our "iniquities" with His Blood--in Baptism, in Reconciliation, in the Eucharist Himself. The more we unite with Him the more the Cross becomes something invaluable, necessary to wear not just over our hearts--but on our hearts as well.
He died on the Cross for you. He loves you so much. Seek Him where He may be found--on the Cross, on which is hung our Salvation.