Trust the Mystery of the Cross

Devils Lake Journal

Trust the Mystery of the Cross

Good People of the Lake Region….Blessed Good Friday to you all.  Today is a good time for us to realize what it means to be a follower of Christ:  without the Cross we cannot come to know the True Christ.  Today, on this April 2, I turn 54 years old.  And I have come to know one true fact:  Salvation in Christ can only be achieved if we “TRUST” in the ONE who offered it to us!

That is what original sin was, a breakdown in trust in the giver of Life. The devil tempted Adam and Eve by making them suspicious of God. He undermined their trust in God: "Did God really tell you that you couldn't eat the fruit of these trees? You won't really die if you eat it!?”  When they stopped trusting in God, their relationship with God was shattered. The human race was cut off from its source of happiness. From that moment on, we needed a Savior. We needed someone who could reestablish communion between the human race and God.

That was Jesus' mission.  Christ's cross has rebuilt that shattered trust.  Christ's cross is a bridge of trust that makes it possible for us to return to communion with God, the source of our happiness.  On the cross, Christ is trusting His Father for us, in our place. He is reversing Adam's lack of trust.

That is what the mystery of the cross is all about.  Jesus willingly came down to our level. He willingly allowed himself to suffer, to be subject to the power of evil and the devil.  And when evil made it hard for him to obey the Father's will, just as the devil had made it hard for Adam and Eve to obey the Father's will, Jesus continued to trust.  He continued to trust and obey, in spite of the indescribable suffering he experienced.  As the letter to the Hebrews expressed it: "Son though he was, Christ learned obedience from what he suffered..."

Christ's limitless trust in the Father, rebuilt the bridge between us and God that Adam's lack of trust had destroyed.  That is what we mean when we say that Christ saved us by dying on the cross.  When we believe in Christ, we are really saying that we have come to trust in God. 

To believe in Christ means to be convinced that we do not need to be suspicious of God anymore, that we can live in communion with God, that God wants our friendship.  This is the greatest discovery a person can make, and it is a discovery that can be made over and over again.  This beautiful miracle happens every time we sinners repent.

It is a very interesting fact that the greatest movie about Jesus Christ that was ever made was created by a great sinner.  Mel Gibson's "The Passion of the Christ" is the highest grossing R-Rated film in history.  It has changed the way millions of people see Christ.  It has helped bring millions of people closer to Christ.

Consequently, Mel Gibson hasn't exactly led a saintly life. When the movie came out a few years ago, he did some interviews in which he admitted as much.  He was leading a typical Hollywood style of life - not very Christ-centered.  But when the glitz and the glamour wore off, he was left feeling empty and hopeless.   At that point, he started thinking about what he had learned in his Catechism, and he went back to his Catholic roots.

He started reading, studying, and praying.   He was drawn to the Passion, to Christ's suffering and crucifixion.  As he learned about it and meditated on it, he began to think that maybe, just maybe, if Jesus suffered that much in order to save us, maybe he could even forgive my [Mel's] sins.  It was the intensity of Christ's suffering that convinced Mel Gibson of the intensity of God's love to him personally and the world.  It was Christ dying on the cross that rebuilt the bridge of trust between Gibson and God and rekindled his faith.

Today we should thank God for this great gift, the mystery of Christ's cross that has rebuilt the bridge of trust. We should let it penetrate our hearts. When we come to kiss a crucifix (especially today) we should do so with that in mind.

Moreover, we should also follow in his footsteps. Just as Jesus loved us enough to come into this fallen world and take a share in our crosses, so we should bring his love to those around us by helping them carry their crosses.  There are people in Devils Lake who are out there trying to bear their heavy crosses all alone. Some do not know that Christ has died for them, or they have forgotten it, or they are too frightened and ashamed to accept it.  He just needs your hands, feet, and tongues to help him. 

We each know at least one person who is struggling to carry their cross.  What better way to thank Christ for his gift to us than to promise him to lend that person a hand: to pray for them; to accompany them; to relieve their burden a little bit; to show them through our own confidence in God that there is hope, that Christ can give meaning to their suffering.  Blessed Good Friday as we Look forward to a Blessed Easter Sunday….Christ has Risen…He has Truly Risen.

K. William Boyer is the Managing Editor of the Devils Lake News Journal. He can be reached at kboyer@gannett.com, or by phone at (701) 662-2127.  

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