Much has been said and written, since Pope Francis first step out on to the balcony above St. Peter’s, about the simple, silver cross that he wore — as opposed to the gold, and often ornate, pectoral crosses that have been worn by previous Popes when they first appeared following election.
The simple cross that he has worn for years truly seems to make a statement about our new Pope, the style of ministry he intends to live, and a simplicity to which he appears to be calling the Church and each of us in the Church to live.
But let us realize — that no matter what form or style the cross takes — no matter what material it is made of —– nothing can hide or cover up what the cross of Jesus was like or the pain that he endured on the cross. The cross was not a piece of nice jewelry. The cross was not a figure of adornment. The cross was an ignoble way to die. The cross was, in itself, an insulting way for ordinary criminals to die on.
Simple — or ornate — wood or metal …… the cross is a reminder of suffering and death and a call to sacrificial love.
The cross tells us that life is possible — not that life will be easy. Let me repeat that: The cross tells us that life IS POSSIBLE, not that life will be easy.
On that first Palm Sunday, Jesus had an idea of what lay ahead of him. As of human, he could not have known fully what all the cross would entail. Yet, he went forward. He prayed on Thursday night that, if the cup could pass him by, let it be so. But to the Father, he said, THY will be done.
Pope Francis has said, that to be a disciple of Jesus, we cannot be “self-reverential.”
In an interview last year, Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio — now Pope Francis — railed against the preening and clericalism of many in the hierarchy — peacocks, he called them, displaying a “self-absorbed vanity” that is the “worst sin that could be committed in the Church.”
My cross — your cross — THE CROSS — if we are truly Christian, then the cross cannot be disguised or made “nice” …
As we reflect upon the Passion of Jesus — as we reflect upon The Cross — and our willingness to ENTER INTO THE PASSION OF JESUS …. let’s keep our eyes and our hearts focused on the cross… let us embrace the way of the cross as the way to true service and true peace.