My dear brothers and sisters in Christ,1
Today once again we walk the lonely road with our Lord.
And we remember, that everything that happens to him — he does it for us.
When we see Jesus lifted up on the Cross, we see how much God loves us. How much he loves you, personally, and me, personal.
The cross is the mark of God’s love. For all time, his love is expressed in the form of the cross.
The cross speaks to us today. Jesus calls us from the Cross — “Come to me.” We heard his words today in our Gospel passage, he said, “I thirst!”
And he is speaking those words to me and to you. And he does not thirst for water. He thirsts for love. For your love and for my love.
So Jesus is asking us today to open our hearts to receive him. He invites us today to draw near to him and to accept the gift of his love. To accept the gift that he offers to us from the Cross.
So, we need to slow down today, turn down the noise in our life — and just listen to him.
Jesus himself said, “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me.” 2
It’s true. It’s not an easy road that he’s asking us to walk. But we can do it because we are walking with him.
Following Jesus is a struggle every day, I think, against the hardest enemy — the enemy of ourselves.
To take up our cross means we need “deny ourselves.” We need to work hard every day to be a lot less selfish and a lot more generous.
And this is a journey that will take a lifetime. But Jesus is our model and he is our friend. He shows us the way and he will give us the strength to follow him.
So, today from the Cross, He is calling us to follow him on a beautiful journey. A journey of love. He is calling us to give up our own lives in order to live his life — a life of love, a life of service.
The way of the cross is really a way of love and it is a way of joy.
We know that, my dear brothers and sisters. When we show love, when we are generous, it makes us happy. Isn’t it true? When we do something good for someone else, it makes us feel good.
Those are simple signs but they point to a bigger truth. This is what we are made for. We are made for the love of God — to love as Jesus loves.
This is what life is all about. This is what Jesus wants for you today — joy. This is why He gives himself for you today on the Cross.
So, let us stay close to the foot of the cross today, with Mary, the Mother of Jesus and our Blessed Mother. Let us always remember that Mary is our Mother, too, as Jesus said to St. John from the Cross. And we should love her just as we love our mothers.
And let us ask her today, to help us to listen to Jesus — and to “say yes” to the word that Jesus speaks to us from the Cross.
1. Readings; Isa. 52:13-53:12; Ps. 31:2, 6, 12-13, 15-17, 25; Heb. 4:14-16; 5:7-9; John 18:1-19:42.
2. Mark 8:34.