Feeling comfort from the cross for the first time

There are some things you should know about me and Jesus.

I was twelve years old in 1964. On Good Friday of that year, I was just about ready to set out on my bike for the services at St. Rita’s Church when my mother mentioned in passing that Jesus wasn’t Catholic. What a shock!

If Jesus wasn’t Catholic, then why all the fuss about having Protestant friends? And why hadn’t anyone told me before that he was Jewish?

I felt like I had been scammed and now I’d have to recalibrate everything I knew and believed about Jesus and religion to that point. That Jesus wasn’t Catholic, or that he was Jewish, seemed like really important information to hold back over all my years of CCD classes When, exactly, was someone going to mention this?

I got over it as I matured and learned more about my faith and the scriptures but I still wonder that I never connected the dots. Or that no one realized in those days that kids needed help connecting the dots.

I have always appreciated the beauty of the crucifix, especially on an artistic level. But it was hard to connect with the image of Jesus on a personal level because Jesus’ death on the cross has always been about my sin and guilt and this irritated me.

Even as I listened to the Palm Sunday homily this week, I noticed that no matter how hard he tried to get to the idea of mercy, Father couldn’t get past the dominant connection between the crucifixion, sin, guilt, and reparation for salvation.

Continue reading here from NCR Feeling comfort from the cross for the first time

PS Today is Good Friday (I wrote the above earlier this week) and I remembered a scene from Ben-Hur (Charlton Heston) that is very moving. Here Judah Ben-Hur’s mother and sister are cured of leprosy and Jesus’ blood is washed into a stream and beyond; the visuals alone wouldn’t be nearly a powerful without the musical score that speaks louder than words.

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