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Doctrines & Morals
 
 
Scripture Corner…

SHARING IN THE CROSS AND SUFFERINGS OF CHRIST

THE CROSS OF CHRIST radiates victory for the followers of Christ. The suffering of Christ, though an evil from the point of view of those who inflicted it, but it is a source of Salvation to mankind. Christ’s suffering gives meaning to all sufferings. No longer can suffering appear as evil, but a means of purification, repentance, salvation. Christ suffering has rejected the whole concept of living according to the flesh. He recognizes that the flesh is worth destroying if so the Spirit be saved (1 Cor.5:5).

Suffering was the inescapable pathway Christ must tread in order to redeem the world. It is basic to St. Paul that every Christian must be Christ-like (cf.Phil.2:5). Pope Pius XII in his encyclical, “Mystici Corporis Christi” holds that God’s purpose is made evidence through the suffering of the his people. Thus, a Cross-less Christian is a Christ-less Christian. Jesus himself took up the Cross and was exalted by His Father to the highest heaven (Acts 5:31). With this, we must make references to the exaltation of Jesus. The exaltation is a very real part of Christian message. It represents the truth that after the passion and death of Christ was a glorious triumph. Hence, suffering cannot be the last word. It is not the end, but the means to the end, and that end is victory.

Jesus holds out to His followers the prospect of sharing to some degree in His suffering. Christ told His followers, that their part of service means daily taking up the Cross (Luke. 9:23).  He asked the son of Zebedee, ‘Are you able to drink the cup that I drink? Or to be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with? He went on to assure them saying ‘The cup that I shall drink you shall drink; and with the baptism that I am baptized with, you shall be baptized’ (Mk.10:38). This illustrates that thorns and Crossws are part of our Christian experience. Never in the Gospels is Christ without a Cross, and never is the Cross without the Resurrection. But, the religious and political tragedy of our day is the visible and invisible divorce of Christ and the Cross. Christ has been torn apart from His cross. Christ is one side, and the Cross is on another. Thus, we have a Cross-less Christ and a Christ-less Cross.

Having Christ without the Cross cannot save, so also is the Cross without Christ. According to Fulton Sheen, “The divorce of Christ from the Cross leads to the retreat of the spiritual life.” He who pick up the Cross without Christ fall into the separation that leads to lack of self-denial, ignorance of penance, negligence when in sin, and loosing the hope of judgment. Hence, Fulton Sheen posits that the Cross-less Christ will lead to moral degradation, and apathy.

The Cross is a great weapon against the devil. St Theresa says that the devil has no power over any object at which the sign of the Cross has been placed. Christ foretold this saying, “If I be lifted up from the earth, I will draw all things to Myself” (cf. Jn.12:32). With the Crucifixion, the emblem of shame and disgrace became a symbol of faith, honour and salvation. Similarly, St. Paul cries out, “May I never boast of anything except in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world” (Gal.6:14).

The Cross is God’s message of victory to the world, which we should not only proclaim with our lips, but also with our way of lives. If Jesus had spared Himself, you and I would have been trapped eternally in our sin. But because He embraced the cross, you and I have received the reward of eternal life. Beloved, if you embrace the cross, your life will have an eternal impact, because a crucified life cannot help but change things, people and the world. Thus, we are called to be Cross bearers for the sake of Christ’s gospel.

 


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