The Pascal Triduum faces us with the reality of what it truly means to follow Christ. We are reminded that the freedom one can experience through their belonging to Jesus means that one too belongs to the suffering of the Cross.
To be free begins with being bound. We are bound not to despair or suffering, but rather bound to the Cross and to our Lord. Through Him we can be led to a purposeful understanding of our sufferings and a steadfast hope and trust in His love. Pope Francis on Twitter yesterday spoke about this reality. "It is not easy to follow Jesus closely, because the path he chooses is the way of the Cross." We look upon this choice Jesus made for us most throughout the Easter Triduum. We can ask ourselves the questions posed by Msgr. Albacete in order that we may grow in our acceptance of what belonging to Jesus truly means. "What does it mean for the man Jesus to be the Son of God?" What can such a gift of God becoming man and dwelling among us, for our salvation, and to die for us mean in our lives? Do we become obsessed with the joy of Jesus, with the love, with the compassion, with his unconditional care, so much so that may we forget the suffering; forget His message to us in these times? The joy of the Gospel is most evident in the Cross, this choice of love to provide such joy and freedom for us. Jesus chose the Cross so we could make sense of the crosses in our lives. To be 'sons in the Son' is to be bound to the Lord, to belong to Him, and thus to face the Cross within our own lives and in various circumstances. We must remember that we do not face our cross alone.
Pope Francis reminds us of the difficulty in following Jesus closely, because eventually, and unavoidably we encounter struggle. Granted these challenges and Crosses in life are presented to all of us. It is part of the human condition to suffer. Many look upon this truth and see no reason for following such a God. No purpose for embracing Him and His Cross if we are 'doomed' to have our own. This thinking leads to imprisonment and further disillusion in regards to what it means to be free. Faith shows to us that we are free because we have first been created and found by a God who loves us despite of ourselves and our brokenness. He meets us within our struggles and teaches us the way to be free.
Belief in our Lord and trust in His mercy and love leads us to trust that He too bears our Crosses with us. It is not a means for us to escape the reality of our human condition, but to live our condition well and to dwell within this world with great purpose, with hope, and with an understanding of our suffering. To set our gaze upon the Divine reveals to us the reason and purpose for our humanity. "There is no neutral ground: either we belong to God with Jesus and are truly free, or we belong to the Father of lies and are overpowered by death" (Msgr. Albacete).
I have chosen to follow Jesus. It a choice that I am faced with daily. This choice has not made me numb to the reality of life, or my brokenness, but has affirmed the purpose and meaning for such a life in friendship with Christ. In belonging to Him we recognize that everything is good. We turn to the Cross today as we are;with our love, with our faith, with our wounds, with our sins, and with our doubts. For through the Cross there is life, and there is joy. In Him we come to experience the fulfillment of our identity and an understanding in times of trial. (C.C)