25 Mar 2018
A week from now we’ll be celebrating Easter, and we’re getting for that: deciding what to make for Easter dinner, who’s coming over. Just yesterday I was at the store and bought some jelly beans. Easter is coming and we’re looking forward to it.
But, of course, Easter does not stand alone. The holiday exists in relation to the Passion and the Cross of our Lord. At Easter, we celebrate that Christ died for our sins, of course. But we also celebrate the revelation of the Tree of Life.
Remember back in the Garden of Eden, when Adam and Eve were expelled. Well, they (and all of humanity) were cut off from the Tree of Life in the center of the garden. They couldn’t get to it; they didn’t have any way to access Paradise. But...with the Resurrection, the wooden Cross is revealed as the Tree of Life. The Cross is our access to Paradise!
At Easter celebrate Christ’s death and resurrection, but with that we also rejoice that the door to Paradise has been shown to us! In his resurrection, Jesus points back to the Cross and says, “That’s the Way! If you want to be with me in Paradise, go that Way!”
And that’s why each year we hear the Passion. It’s why we carry the Cross in our processions. It’s why on Good Friday we venerate the Cross; we kiss it and bow to it; we touch it; we reverence it—the Cross, the doorway to Paradise. It’s why in Catholic churches we surround ourselves with the Stations of the Cross.
The Cross is everything to us. Next Sunday as we’re celebrating the resurrection of Jesus from the dead, let’s be sure to also celebrate what the resurrection reveals to us—it reveals the Cross, it validates selfless love as the door to Paradise.
Paradise is opened again to humanity. And the Cross is the doorway. Thanks be to God for the Cross.