It was an honor and privilege to carry our Lord’s cross into the church this past Good Friday. The week before ordination my spiritual director asked me if I had thought of a gift to ask God for at ordination. This very idea had been on my mind for a while. I responded too him that I desired the grace of clearly recognizing someone who was suffering and the ability to accompany and assist them in carrying a portion of their cross.
After venerating the cross Good Friday afternoon, I sat in the sanctuary, a witness to our parish family bringing forward their personal sorrows. It was difficult for me to hold back my tears. My heart was heavy with those burdens which many of you have shared with me these past seven months. The mysteries of ordination have been astonishing. All I could do in those moments was to pray for each of you, asking Jesus to carry some of the weight of your cross as you united your suffering to His.
In our second reading today, Peter addresses a working class of Christian slaves. Peter asks those slaves to respond to unjust treatment without resorting to violence. His request for patient suffering is compared to that of Jesus who won righteousness for all humanity. God’s grace and strength is available for us when we endure our suffering with that same patience.
Someone asked me this past week if the Easter Candle which I brought into the sanctuary at Easter Vigil was heavy. In contrast to the heaviness of the many sufferings in our world today, the Easter Candle was lightweight, almost buoyant. The Roman Missal summarizes the light symbolism of the Easter Candle perfectly, “May the light of Christ rising in glory dispel the darkness of our hearts and minds.” This connects the Easter candle to Jesus as the “light of the world,” as Jesus describes himself in the Gospel of John.
From the Easter candle all the other candles in the church are lit showing how Jesus is the source of our light. May you carry the light of Christ with you this Easter Season and continue to share the weight of your cross with Jesus. God’s Easter blessings to you all.