In our contemplation of the Cross we discover the “sign of contradiction.” This is at the heart of the Paschal Mystery, the coming together of apparent opposites: suffering and healing, death and resurrection, defeat and victory, agony and glory.
And yet they are not really opposites. Self-giving is a necessary prerequisite for perfect freedom, and perfect freedom constitutes new life and glory.
I think one of the most powerful and mysterious lines in Mel Gibson’s popular movie, The Passion of the Christ, is when our Lord meets His dear Mother along the Way of the Cross, as she comes to His side when He falls, yet again, under the weight of the Cross. Looking into her compassionate and sorrowful eyes He tells her, “Don’t you see, Mother? I make all things new.” Now these words are not found in the Gospel, but are actually in the Book of the Apocalypse (21:5), and the filmmaker superimposes these words on the lips of Jesus for dramatic effect.
Nonetheless, the scene conveys a powerful and mysterious truth. Through humility and obedience to the will of God, we make all things new. The glory of Jesus, particularly in St. John’s Gospel, is the glory of obedience and self-giving. The glory of the Resurrection merely crowns the glory which Jesus had already obtained by His obedience to His Father’s will.
In the words of our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI: “[Christ’s] crucifixion is His coronation; His coronation or kingship is His surrender of Himself to men.”
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Adoramus Te, Christe, et benedicimus Tibi, Quia per sanctam crucem Tuam redemisti mundum, Domine, miserere nobis!
We adore Thee, O Christ, And we bless Thee, Who by the holy cross have redeemed the world, Who have suffered for us! Lord, have mercy upon us!