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(Part 31)


April 22, 2011
Good Friday

On June 26 CFC-FFL will be 30 years old. Once again we will be facing a crossroad. Will we soar in the very strength of God, or will we continue to be weakened by infidelities?

As far as God is concerned, what He wants is for His chosen instrument to be His strong servant through whom He will manifest His glory (Is 49:3), for His servant to bring His salvation to the ends of the earth (Is 49:6b). This is why He destined us from all eternity (Is 49:1b), raised and restored us (Is 49:6a), and now gives us the opportunity to fully appropriate His strength (Is 49:5d). But still, it depends on us. Will we respond with total commitment and faithfulness, or not?

How do we proceed? What do we do? How do we discern what is the right path?

The answer? When we reach the crossroad, look for the cross on the road. This is the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, on which he hung on Calvary, by which he won salvation for all of humanity.

What does this mean for us?

First, when we see the cross on the road, we must be reminded to always keep focused and centered on Christ (our very first Core Value). But the Christ we focus on is Christ crucified. Christ crucified has been the icon of Christianity since time immemorial. The Church chose not the glorified and risen Christ but the crucified Christ. Look at the crucifixes in parish churches and on our rosaries. Christ crucified is the icon of total surrender to the Father’s will, and total love for His people. We must imitate Christ in all his ways, and desire nothing but that his will for our lives be done.

Second, when we see the cross on the road, we must recognize the true message God wants to convey. And what is that? God’s message is the good news of salvation in Jesus, won through the cross. Now many Christians would rather hear a more comfortable message, like the gospel of prosperity. Or a life of comfort. Or getting all we pray for. But that would be a false gospel. It would be a weak gospel. It would not lead us to heaven. For us, “we proclaim Christ crucified” (1 Cor 1:23a). And we have this assurance: “The message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” (1 Cor 1:18). Take note: it is the power or strength of God.

Third, when we see the cross on the road, we must be aware of spiritual warfare. The monumental war in the heavens and on earth culminated on the cross. Satan thought he had won, when he managed to get Jesus crucified and killed. But Jesus rose from the dead on the third day, and thereupon crushed the head of the serpent. Satan had lost! But Satan remains powerful, and in his death throes still manages to bring many down to perdition with him. Now we, as God’s instruments, are the ones engaging him in spiritual warfare. On our own we cannot defeat him. We can only defeat him with the strength of God, through the power of the cross. Even “the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.” (1 Cor 1:25b).

Fourth, when we see the cross on the road, we are to embrace it. Jesus, in defining discipleship, tells us to deny ourselves and to take up our cross (Lk 9:23). We are called to follow Jesus, and when we do so, we will come to the cross. There is no other path. There will always be suffering in life. But such suffering is intended by God to be salvific. So we look to the purification that comes with embracing the cross, thankful for the opportunity to grow in holiness.

Fifth, when we see the cross on the road, we are led to give our all for the cause of Christ. Jesus gave his all. He held nothing back, giving his very life. And he did this on the cross. He loved us so much that he suffered terribly and gave his life, even when we were sinners. How much do we love the Lord? Do we actually even realize that we belong totally to him, since he paid the price for us with his precious blood? There can be no reasonable response to the love and sacrifice of Jesus than for us to turn our lives over to him and serve him without reservation.

If we do the above, then our decisions when we reach the crossroad will be in accordance with God’s will. Then we can become the fitting instruments and faithful servants that the Lord intends. Then we can rightly claim, “My God is now my strength!”

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