“Your right hand upholds me!”

(Psalm 18.35)

She was fuming.
“I hate God,
and if I could, I would smash his face with fist blows!”
This was the reaction of a young girl in a Bergmann movie
when she got to know of her boyfriend’s death in a traffic accident.

The cross shocks us.
Normally our reaction is flawed.

Some rebel and get angry.
If God was really good,
He would hand me a better deal,
He would not have allowed this tragedy.

Others resign themselves.
“what can we do, we have to swallow it?!”
“Let us suffer here so that we can be happy there!”
This borders on blasphemy.
Because Jesus Christ suffered precisely so that we do not suffer.

Others try to alienate themselves as much as possible
Work, house cleaning, devotions, a hobby, ipod…
They keep themselves busy so as not to think.

The Christian is different.
He does not need to resign himself,
or to rebel
or to alienate himself

The Christian does what Jesus Christ judiciously told him to do
He takes up his cross.
What does this mean?
It means accepting reality the way it is.
Even if he would have liked it otherwise.
It means accepting history the way it is
Even if apparently it is obnoxious.

And more,
the Christian does not hesitate to assume reality as it is.
Because he knows,
- he has experienced it many times -
that Jesus Christ will shoulder the responsibility
of removing the sting from the cross.
When accepted, the cross does not destroy.
On the contrary, it gives an inner peace that is amazing.
Many Christians discovered God in the cross.

Many Christians found out that when they took up the cross,
the cross became lighter.
Not only it did not crush them
on the contrary it lifted them up.
They discovered that they were not the ones carrying it.
Someone else was carrying it for them!

In front of the evil one who utilizes the cross
to convince us that God is an ogre
that God has ignored us
that in life we are alone
Christians have a serious answer:
No, it is not true that the cross is a sign that God does not love me
Rather it is precisely the cross which is showing me the shining face of the Father.

I do not understand why God is permitting this cross.
But I know that God will provide
because He cares for me.
As He provided a ram for Abraham as he was about to sacrifice his only son Isaac
- that was a really big cross -
He always makes available the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ Himself
who comes constantly to our rescue.
In Jesus Christ, God has exalted and lifted the cross.
He removed the sting… and so the cross does not hurt us any more.

So, why does God permit the cross in my life?
Because He loves me.
Because I need it.
Because He wants to keep me in place.
Because it is the only means that can draw me to Him at the moment.

Yes, even the cross is a kiss -
A kiss of love from my God.

Isaac spoke to his father Abraham: ‘Father!’
‘Yes, my son’ he replied.
‘Look,’ he said ‘here are the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb
for the burnt offering?’
Abraham answered ,‘My son, God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering’.
Then the two of them went on together…
Looking up, Abraham saw a ram caught by its horn in a bush.
Abraham took the ram and offered it
as a burnt-offering in place of his son.
Abraham called this place ‘Yahweh provides’,
and hence the saying today:
On the mountain Yahweh provides.
(Genesis 22. 7-8,13-14)

(c) Fr. Pius Sammut, OCD. Permission is hereby granted for any non-commercial use, provided that the content is unaltered from its original state, if this copyright notice is included.