My Dear Friends:
Today we celebrate the Fifth Sunday of Lent which begins the last two weeks of Lent also known as “Passiontide.” Now we begin our immediate preparation to meditate on the sorrowful events of the Passion of our Lord which we will hear recounted next week on Palm Sunday of the Passion of the Lord. It is a period where we narrow our focus more intensely on the cross.
The liturgy reflects this as the priests starts praying two different prefaces during the Mass right before consecration which emphasize the passion as we grow closer to Easter. The first preface of the Passion addresses God the Father saying, “For through the saving Passion of your Son the whole world has received a heart to confess the infinite power of your majesty, since by the wondrous power of the Cross your judgment on the world is now revealed and the authority of Christ crucified.” The “power of the cross” is a mystery that sometimes eludes us because we become so used to seeing the crucifix on our altar, hanging in our homes, or wearing them around our necks. But the power of the cross should never be lost on us or become something we are numb to because by enduring such a gruesome and violent death, our Lord won for us the prize of everlasting life. We see our sorrows up on the cross, our sins, our failings, and we should suffer like our Lord when we fall short of following his divine plan for us. The cross should be a constant reminder that Jesus endured such unspeakable pain to gain for us the ultimate victory.
This victory is what the second preface of Passion focuses on which we pray on Holy Monday through Holy Wednesday: “For the days of his saving Passion and glorious Resurrection are approaching, by which the pride of the ancient foe is vanquished and the mystery of our redemption is celebrated.” And there we see one the great triumphs of the cross: Satan is indeed vanquished once and for all by Christ’s supreme sacrifice. Sin entered the world as a result of a tree in the Book of Genesis, and sin is destroyed on the tree of the cross on Good Friday. Satan and the power of sin have no power over us…now if only we believed this and not allow sin into our life as we often do and hold tight to the cross of Christ, our Lord. The cowardly powers of hell quiver at the sight of the wondrous cross.
May we never take the crosses we have, both physical and spiritual, for granted. May we always recall what Christ did out of love for us as we approach the solemn days of our redemption and hold tight to the cross of Jesus Christ.
God Bless You All,