THE GOSPEL OF THE CROSS
Today’s reading: 1 Corinthians 2:1-5
is the proclamation of the good news of salvation in Jesus.
But this good news is about the suffering and death of Jesus
on the cross, by which he paid the price for our sins and
won for us our salvation. Such is the essential element. Our
lives are now to be centered on Jesus, and so Paul affirms,
“For I resolved to know nothing .... except Jesus Christ”
(1 Cor 2:2a). Everything is about Jesus. He is to be the be-all
and end-all of our lives. We are to live for him. We are to
follow him. We are to strive to become like he is.
that is not all Paul says. In the same breath, he adds, “and
him crucified.” (1 Cor 2:2b). We are to know nothing
but Jesus, and him crucified.
cross is an essential aspect of the gospel. In fact, it is
at the very center of the good news of salvation in Jesus.
But many Christians today shun the cross. Yes they know that
Jesus died on the cross, and we Catholics constantly see a
depiction of that through the crucifix we have in churches
and on our rosaries. But Christians fail to see that the way
of salvation is the way of the cross, not just for Jesus,
but for everyone of us, here and now. Christians fail to realize
that they should not just mindlessly view the crucified Christ,
but should be walking towards the cross and ultimately embracing
it, if they are to embrace Christ. Christ and the cross are
tells us that if we want to follow him we must embrace our
cross daily. If we follow him we can expect, not only good
things, but persecution as well. We live in a world dominated
by the evil one. If we evangelize, we engage in spiritual
battle and confront the enemy, who then assaults us. If we
try to live like Christ, the evil one will try to bring us
Christians today look on the cross as just part of doctrine,
but not as a way of life. The world in fact has co-opted Christians,
making them look to comfort, pleasure, the good life, the
blessings without the pains.
are taught, and expect, that if they accept Jesus into their
lives, they will be blessed. Rightly so. But they define blessings
in the way that the world does. They do not consider the crosses
in life, the suffering and the pains, as blessings, but rather
as stumbling blocks and foolishness.
it is the cross that makes us truly Christian. Through the
crosses in life, we are humbled, we are able to empty ourselves,
we are led to depend totally on God, we grow in trust and
hope, we are able to empathize with those who suffer, we are
given powerful testimonies of faith to help us evangelize,
we are purified in our avowed desire to follow Jesus, we are
given the privilege of walking in the very footsteps of Jesus
and sharing, though in a much smaller way, in the very suffering
all those are what will make us truly Christian! All those
are what will bring us to holiness. All those are what makes
it possible for us to strive to Christian perfection.
Preaching about the cross and a life of embracing the cross
is what is largely missing in the life of Christians today.
Today there are false gospels being preached. People hear
about the gospel of prosperity, how if one accepts Jesus one
will be successful in business, will be healed, will have
all prayers answered. Indeed there will be tremendous blessings,
but there will also be the cross. Some who work with the poor
want to make the poor rich and poor nations First World nations.
But the solution to poverty is not wealth but rather that
no one is in need. Those who become rich in fact are hardest
to evangelize and First World nations have lost the faith.
On the other hand, the faith is strongest in those nations
where Christians are persecuted and even martyred.
call then to a New Evangelization is a call to proclaim the
authentic gospel of Jesus Christ, and that is a gospel of
the cross. One living the cross becomes a very powerful witness,
just like Paul. Then we can say, “my message and my
proclamation (are) not with persuasive words of wisdom, but
with a demonstration of spirit and power, so that your faith
might rest not on human wisdom but on the power of God.”
(1 Cor 2:4-5).
* * *