On this final LORD’S DAY of the 2019 liturgical year, the Sacred Scriptures may cause us to do a double-take. In the Gospel passage from the Gospel according to Luke we will find Jesus on the cross in dialogue with the two criminals who were crucified alongside of him. But before that we will hear Saint Paul in the Letter to the Colossians declare “he is the image of the invisible God” (Col 1:15). What a stark contrast! Often we picture in our imaginations God reigning as a kind of monarch from a throne in heaven. This image, for most, is preferred to that of what seems to be a crucified criminal.
People of faith know the contradiction and are generally comfortable with it. This isn’t true, though, for those who do not know or have yet to experience life in Christ. His faithful disciples learn that the cross is an absolute requirement for anyone to really follow Him.The cross is not the end of the story, but there is a need in Christianity to embrace sacrifice and suffering for the good of the whole. When God first created the world in all its beauty, He did so not for Himself but for the crown of His creation – man and woman. The cross becomes the instrument that restores humanity to our former condition of sharing life with God and the beauty of all creation.
Invited to be missionary disciples, we are invited to bring this message of joy and good news to the many who either (1) no longer live this faith or (2) have never had the opportunity in grace to experience this gift of God’s love. In the weeks ahead, leading to the holidays, who can you help see anew with the eyes of faith?