Today we venerate the cross of Jesus – the symbol of shame that became a symbol of triumph a symbol of death that is now a symbol of everlasting life.
In God’s love and mercy he sacrificed his only son to bring us to new life. Jesus’ death on this cross has forever changed the cross in the Christian heart, from a symbol of despair to symbolize God’s overwhelming love for his children.
In God’s love he readily forgives us all our weaknesses, -- without hesitation; clutching us into his embrace, comforting and consoling us – loving us as we desire love, -- as we deserve to be loved.
Recently, I spoke with a young woman who, for most of her life, did not feel love, God’s love or the love of family, and especially the love of her father. Given up to foster care at a young age by parents who were not ready to care for a child, -- she bounced from foster home to foster home until she was finally settled, in her teens with her natural mother. As an impressionable young woman, she longed for her father’s love, but (she) was told stories about her father that led her to believe that he never loved her and never wanted her to be a part of his life.
When she was in her late twenties, her father sent word to her that he was dying and wanted to see her. She had many reasons not to go, but curiosity and a longing to confront the man who had abandoned her as a child led her to make the trip to visit him on his death bed.
When she met her father, -- a man, she discovered, who had never stopped loving his little girl – a man who had suffered greatly the loss of his daughter because of the hard-hearted-ness of others. She discovered a man who loved her so much that he bent to the wishes of others; -- staying out of her life -- believing it was best for her.
She found pictures of herself displayed in his home from various times of her life, -- in a school play, -- on her sixteenth birthday; -- wearing her prom dress, -- all taken and sent to him by a sympathetic relative. When she spoke with him -- he knew every detail of her life as if he had been with her throughout. She discovered her father’s love was constant and unwavering, full and complete.
She carried away from that meeting her father’s love and found new joy in her life – she said it was as if she were reborn. But she also now carried the lies she had been told by her mother all her life, -- lies that denied her - her father’s love. It would have been easy to transfer the hate she once felt for her father -- to her mother, but the power of her father’s love overwhelmed her – showing her that love conquers all; helping one to endure all manner of pain and sorrow. She prayed to God the Father for help and guidance and found forgiveness in her heart.
As we approach the cross today, let us too take all our hurt and disappointment, -- all our pain and sorrow, -- all our suffering, hate and fear and lay them at the foot of the cross. Let us place at the feet of Jesus, all that separates us from the love of God and from one another – to be reconciled with God -- to find love in our lives – love in our families and friends – love in our relationships – and with all whom we meet.
For we are all brothers and sisters, children of the one God – who’s sent His Son to live among us:
- Taking on our human condition
- Teaching us of the Father’s love for us
- Showing us how we are to live in love with one another
- He endured the pains and sufferings of this world;
- Taking on all our sins and corruptions - to the cross of death transforming it into the Tree of Life
- All for love of us –
- To bring us to Life everlasting Kingdom of God's Peace and Love
Deacon Don Ron