Homily for Good Friday, Year B.
Two days after the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, a twenty-foot steel cross was discovered amidst the twisted, melted, and charred remains of the World Trade Center. Two days after the catastrophic fire at the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris on April 15, 2019, a large, golden cross was discovered intact amidst the twisted, melted, and charred remains of the church. Two days after each of these tragic events—or, in the language of Scripture, “on the third day”—a cross was found amidst the ruins.
To a skeptic, these two, unrelated events—these two discoveries of the cross—are coincidences, accidents of nature. There is nothing to see, no hand of God to detect, no sign to observe. But a person of faith sees things differently. While the hand of God is not always easy to detect, even to a person of faith, there are times when His mark is unmistakable, when the writing on the wall is clear and distinct. When a person of faith looks at the cross—whether that cross stands amidst the rubble and remains of a broken building, or whether it stands amidst a building which, like ours, is whole and intact—when a person of faith looks at the cross, they see a sign of hope.
What will you see, when you gaze upon our cross this evening? What will you see when you bow or genuflect before it? I pray that you will see a sign of hope. Even when the world seems to be falling apart, as it seemed on 9/11, even when it seems to be burning to the ground, as it seemed on the day Notre Dame caught fire, even when nothing seems steady, whole, or intact, the cross stands still amidst it all.
“The cross stands still while the world turns.” This is the motto of the religious community known as the Carthusians. And we might be reminded of it today as we gaze upon our cross. The cross is the true poll of the earth. When everything is spinning out of control around us, the cross alone stands still. It alone remains unchanged: an eternal sign of hope and of God’s unfathomable and inexhaustible love for us. So, what will you see when you gaze upon our cross this evening? I pray that you will see a sign of hope. I pray that you will see that our cross also stands still while the world is turning around us. Behold the wood of the Cross, on which hung the salvation of the world. Come, let us adore. Amen.