First Things First!
On this glorious day, we must never forget what it took. There can be no glory of the Resurrection without the agony of the Cross.
"The Cross was the end on earthly terms but the Resurrection was the beginning on eternal terms. This is consistent with the idea that before we reach the eternal, we must be willing to end, to die to the temporal. Likewise, saving one's neck in physical or symbolic terms on this earth will often derail saving one's neck eternally through salvation. We must be willing to end our obsession and preoccupation with this world before we can be free to find the path to salvation offered to us by Christ. There is no short cut or a way around this truth."
We have all read how many see The Resurrection as the core of Christianity, as the critical event that makes all else make sense. Certainly this is the claim of the Protestants, and many expressed this belief last year during the debates concerning Mel Gibson's film However, as true Catholics we must realize that the Cross is the core belief, the central event, and that The Resurrection is a vital yet secondary completion of that initial spark.
A Completion Requires a Start...
As important as the completion of any task may be, that completion is only important because there was a task to complete. Without a task to complete, there cannot be a completion and hence completion is fundamentally dependent upon initiation. Now Christ initiated His ministry and moved it forward as we all know, but His ultimate sacrifice for our redemption was the true initiation, the true core, of the entire ministry. It was the target to which Our Lord was aiming all along, and hence it is the genuine start of the perpetuation of that ministry. Take away the Cross, and you have a unique and special ministry leading to what? The Cross is the concrete realization of everything Our Lord stood for, of everything He uttered, and so it is in The Cross that His actions, words, and example transcend their plain meaning and take on their powerful tone.
A Start Then Demands a Completion...
Once we have The Cross, justice and perfection demand that this Cross mean something, that it lead to something else. That subsequent result takes two forms, the immediate and the true subsequent. The immediate, of course, was a humiliating and horrible death, but the true subsequent was resurrection and new life. The Cross, then began the process, it was the required trigger that led to the promised completion of that mission.
An End Before a Beginning...
The Cross was the end on earthly terms but the Resurrection was the beginning on eternal terms. This is consistent with the idea that before we reach the eternal, we must be willing to end, to die to the temporal. Likewise, saving one's neck in physical or symbolic terms on this earth will often derail saving one's neck eternally through salvation. We must be willing to end our obsession and preoccupation with this world before we can be free to find the path to salvation offered to us by Christ. There is no short cut or a way around this truth.
The path from Jerusalem to Golgotha was much longer than that from Golgotha to The Tomb, and that is because our union with our cross must face the realities, obstacles, ups and downs of this earth. We must earn our salvation, and thus Divine Justice demands that we merit that salvation thoroughly. Once we have given ourselves completely to God's Will and suffered for Him, He will take us to salvation and new life on His terms and in His timeframe, which is certainly faster and shorter than anything we can imagine.
The true Catholic character of any person, institution, group, view, belief, or message can be measured by its willingness and eagerness to depict, promote, display, and even embrace the Cross and its cold, bitter reality. To the extent that any such person, group, or message slaps makeup, masks, and disguises on the Crucified Christ, that person, group, or message removes itself from the true Catholic faith.
Some think that Satan was at Golgotha, dancing and celebrating Christ's humiliating death, but this view is misguided and na´ve. No, Christ's bitter death was Satan's second most humiliating moment. Even as Our Lord hung half-naked from a piece of wood, the devil twisted in the wind, unable to grasp how love could embrace such pain, how injustice could become a tool for mercy, and how suffering could ever be chosen over comfort and escape.
Satan's most humiliating moment, of course, is yet to come, for it will occur when his defeat is total, complete, and final. On that day the prince of evil will face his eternal fate and will hear a most resounding "you're fired", but first things first.
Editor's Note: Heaven is once again under attack by those who would seek to ignore and overthrow God's majesty and authority. Gabriel Garnica, educator and attorney, submits regular insights and commentaries to remind and help guide readers toward a deeper and more assertive faith. Touching on topics and issues ranging from personal faith, doctrine, education, scripture, the media, family life, morality, and values, Gabriel's notes are music to traditional ears but unpleasant tones to those who have bought into the misguided notions so prevalent and spreading in today's Catholic world.