2008 Good Friday


The cross is ever before us. It wants to speak to us, if only we contemplate it with love, drawn by the power of the Spirit who is the gift of Christ crucified. If we look upon it with awe and affection, the cross becomes an enticing, warm and all-consuming fire: it gives us a challenge.

It asks us many things. The cross asks us, our communities, our societies and our cultures to confirm that there do exist paths from the cross to resolve human problems.

Jesus did not invent the cross. He, like every person, found it on his journey. The newness in his message was to plant the seed of love in our bearing of the Cross. The element of love turned the way of the Cross into a way that leads to life. The Cross itself became a message of love: a means of transformation. Our cross is also the Cross of Jesus!

This cross first embraces each of us, and entrusts us with a duty in our personal life, in our families, among our friends and acquaintances – in sum, with whoever else’s cross we encounter. I think of the many broken families, the many illnesses which have not been accepted, of hardened hearts which have become embittered, resenting and brooding. How many crosses have been borne up and down in elevators of our buildings. How many cross-bearers walk up and down our streets, populate our cities!

There are crosses without a name, and often, without a hope. There are crosses of doom which, at best, are merely tolerated. Those who bear them live lives of quiet desperation and silent resignation.

From His Cross, Jesus invites each of us today to put all these crosses, and not just own, into relationship with his own. Jesus invites us to do as he did, plant the seed of love and hope in the soil of each of the crosses we encounter.

Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini, S.J.

One Response to “2008 Good Friday”

  1. Mary O'Brien Says:

    I’ve read this many times since it was first posted ..and each time it seems ‘fresh’ and very relevant to some situation I’ve just encountered or heard of…..as I read it this evening I am so conscious of a friend who is realising he may have entered the ‘end stage’ of a disease he has carried for 5 years; also this weekend on radio in Ireland many of us heard an interview with a well known journalist who has cancer and who, in a very honest and articulate interview, expressed the utter despair and fear and anger she feels at this time….a terrible emptiness …… I have never before heard such ‘darkness’ coming from another. How to make this Good Friday piece ‘real’ is the challenge.

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