The Victory of the Cross
4 Apr 2021
THE VICTORY OF THE CROSS OF JESUS
“But it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Lord, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the Gospel.” - 2 Timothy 1:10
My dear brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus:
First of all, Happy Easter or in the Polish tradition of we say: “Wesołego, Alleluia.”
I hope and pray that this Easter may be a joyous time for you and your loved ones. I remember a year ago, where Easter was not very joyous and even this year many will continue to find little joy due to the loss of a loved ones from the coronavirus. I ask that you remember in your prayers today all those who have suffered a loss of a loved one. Although this Easter will be difficult for many, Easter brings a message to our world and to each other new hope and new life.
The events of Holy week have been a contrast of two opposites First we read of the triumphant entry of Jesus into Jerusalem, on Palm Sunday. So much joy and expectation. But this joy was soon to be replaced with sadness and hopes were soon to be dashed, for on that first Good Friday, they saw this holy teacher from Nazareth; suffering, beaten and bleeding and made to carry His cross to His own crucifixion. Finally, three days following His death, a miracle happened; He resurrected from the dead and many saw Him that day.
As all of you came into church, today, you were given a wooden cross with the marking “John 3:16.” It is a most powerful scripture passage, that all of us should put to memory, for it is the Catholic, the Orthodox, the “Universal” statement that brings all Christians together into one body.
“For God so loved the world that He gave His One and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
While we rejoice in the Resurrection of our Lord, of gathering with family and loved ones this day, we should all be reminded of what led up to the joy and celebration of Easter. It was the Cross.
I think of a line from the song “Tomorrow will be a brighter day” written back in the 70’s by the musician Jim Croce. He sings: “No one has ever seen a rainbow until they have seen the rain.” It is a little reminiscent of the story of Noah, where after it rained for 40 days, upon leaving the ark, Noah sees a rainbow. Easter to Good Friday for me, is like the rainbow that came after the rain; the joy that came after the sadness, the victory that came after the struggle, and the life that came after death. Christ was to conquer all obstacles that would prevent us from knowing God and being one with Him. In 1st Corinthians 15:55, St. Paul talks about Christ victory when he writes “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?”
Matthew Henry, a famous 18th century minister wrote about the victories of the cross of Christ: “Come and see the victories of the cross. Christ's wounds are your healings, His agonies, your repose, His conflicts, your conquests, His groans, your songs, His pains, your ease, His shame, your glory, His death, your life, His sufferings, your salvation.”
My dear brothers and sisters: As you hold this simple piece of wood, I would like all of you to ever be mindful that it was on a cross that God offers to you, His love, His forgiveness, and the gift of eternal life. In Romans 6:23, Paul writes that: “the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ.”
I ask that whenever you hold this simple piece of wood in your hands, I hope that all of you ever be reminded that our Lord paid a price for your redemption and salvation by dying on the shameful wood of the cross.
And so, my dear brothers and sisters, Easter truly is a time of joy and celebration to be shared with loved ones. May we ever be grateful for the many gifts that God has given each of us, most importantly life itself. Although, we will all encounter many trials and tribulations in our lives, remember that in Christ, “tomorrow will be a better day.” Easter is a proclamation that He lives, and He is present among us this Easter day and He tells all the world: “Because I live, you will also live.” Amen.
Rev. Fr. Robert M. Koerber