Love - What Would You Do? Feast of the Cross

By: Father Jim Valk CR, posted: 2014-09-14

In Lima, Peru, I was asked to go with the local village people to climb the mountain behind the village on the feast of the Cross. But it was a different experience than what I thought it would be. We all carried the cross in two parts; everyone carried small pieces of glass and/or mirrors in our hands. After a four walk up the mountain we came to a flat area of land overlooking the valley. A hole was dug, the cross assembled, and I blessed the moment. When I asked why we did this the answer was clear. The Cross could be seen from all those in the valley below. For the people it was  a significant- in the midst of poverty and pain all could look up and see the Cross. God was with them. They were his people.

But the Cross wasn’t something to be liked. It was an expression of daily life. Why do it? Why carry the Cross? Their thought- God would do anything for us. It was a sign of his love and presence. What are the crosses that I carry? Do I add to other’s crosses?

Does it make sense? Does the Cross touch our life? To struggle with a disease, to fight for a good relationship, to live with pain and hurt- can we do it? It makes sense only if we are willing to love enough. How often we have said, I will do anything for you- only love can make sense of that phrase. A young man said to his girlfriend- I will swim the deepest sea; climb the highest mountain, walk the wildest jungle for you. When she asked him to go out into the heavy blizzard- he said not now- it’s snowing too hard. This love is not always easy- but for love!! Will I do anything for another? Is my love willing to make sacrifices? How committed am I?

The readings point out that God does much for his people. The people, however, began to fall away. Human weakness failed for them.  Suffering took place. God called them to build a serpent- put it on a pole. All those who looked upon it would be healed. When we look upon the Cross are we healed, given hope? For God the emphasis was not on condemnation. It was on forgiveness, on life and hope. As God lifted up his people, so he lifts us up as well.

God so loved the world that he went his son, a light for the nations, for us. A friend of mine was a ;pilot for airline. I often flew in the cockpit with the crews. Going into Pittsburgh Airport you could see a huge cross, alight- at the far end of the airport.t When I asked him  if the Cross was a hindrance. No, he said, Cross guides us home. When we see it we are safe home. God says- I would do anything for you. Now, Can we do the same for those around us? For whom are we a light that guides us? Where does God reach out a hand to us? We can’t pay back to God for all he does for us! We can only pass it on.

As a young kid my Mom would bake on Friday nights. What a great baker! What love! Coming home my brother and I often fought over that last piece of pie. It was mime, I being the older Mom would say to me- what would Jesus say or do? I told my brother that he could be Jesus. Great spirit of generosity eh? What am I willing to give up?

The Cross is not a piece of jewelry, but a sign of willingness to do all. People look to us to give hope, to give life, to carry the Cross with them. St. Paul tells us that to carry one another’s Cross is to fulfill the love of God. We are not the serpent on the pole but we can bring healing and hope. Can I love that much?  Would I be like Jesus, willing to do anything?

A group of tourists visited Westminster Cathedral in London. The guile extolled all the wonderful things about the Cathedral. Any questions, he asked? Yes, said one man, has anyone ever been saved here?  Do we reflect in our Church that God walks with us? God so loved our world that he gave us his only son that we might have life. God so loved us that he gave us each other. In the carrying of our Cross Jesus brings his healing and peace. Now, can we say- I’d do anything for you?