THE INVITATION AND MEANING OF THE CROSS: GOOD FRIDAY AT THE CROSS MAIDAN, APRIL 19, 2019
The Cross Maidan, in Mumbai, a place where people from all faiths come to venerate and pray at the Cross, was the venue for the Good Friday service presided over by Oswald Cardinal Gracias, Archbishop of Bombay.
The service commenced with the priests walking in silence and then prostrating themselves at the Altar. After the singing of the Passion Narrative from the Gospel of John, the Cardinal went on to break the Word on the meaning and the purpose of the Cross.
His Eminence began by remarking on how St. John pays so much attention to the details that surrounded the death of Jesus and gives deep insights into the theology of redemption through the wood of the Cross. He emphasized that:“The Cross is unequivocally the centre of today’s celebration; it is a celebration of the infinite love of God and reminds us that when humanity was at its worst, God was at His best.”
What is the meaning of the Cross?
The Cross which was a symbol of shame and a scandal, an instrument of execution and death gets transformed after that first Good Friday into an instrument of hope and salvation. The sacrifice of Christ on the Cross makes it a sign and symbol of our salvation. What was once used by the Roman empire to intimidate and subjugate, to shame and ridicule, to punish and create fear is now seen and viewed by millions of Catholics all around the world, as a sign of hope and God’s incredible self-sacrificing love. It is now, for us, a symbol of faith, something we carry on our persons with pride. It gives us our identity and roots us in our faith.
The Invitation of the Cross
The Cross of Christ is an invitation to us Christians, today, to take up our crosses and follow Jesus, our Lord and Saviour. Everyone has a cross that they carry, it may be a sickness, it may be trouble in the family, a rebellious child, an unsympathetic spouse, a quarrelsome employer, a difficult neighbour, it could be anything and it could be more than just one cross. It is these crosses that Jesus tells us that we must endure; but we can go beyond enduring to embracing the cross that we are called to carry, just as Jesus embraced the cross that He carried. If we embrace our crosses and unite them to the Cross of Christ, they become for us a moment of grace, they bring us freedom and salvation.
His Eminence invited the faithful, who would soon venerate Jesus hanging on the Cross, to do so with a sense of gratitude and hope, to unite the crosses, carried daily, to the Cross of Christ and to ask for the grace to be able to carry and triumph over these crosses.
The Cardinal also reminded the people that their act of coming forward to receive Jesus, in Holy Communion, should be a personal encounter with the Lord, who gave His life for us so that we may live and share in the gift of eternal life.
May this Good Friday be a moment of Grace and Hope for each one of us.