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Bishop's Homily for Good Friday

April 14, 2017

[Co-Cathedral of St. Theresa, Honolulu]
Someone here is probably carrying the cross of profound grief over the loss of a loved one.  Another may be carrying the cross of anxiety about a life-threatening disease.  Yet another may be carrying the cross of caring for a seriously disabled family member.  One is carrying the cross of feeling trapped in a situation of domestic violence; another of having an addiction that saps the life out of self and family.

 Our world is carrying the cross of terrorism and threats of war.  Some of our brother and sister Christians are carrying the cross of having their churches bombed and their homes and livelihoods destroyed.  Another cross is being imposed on many by their governments, which try to control their very thoughts.  Some bear the cross of dire poverty and hunger, while others carry the cross of profound loneliness.

There are many crosses in our lives that can cause great pain, sadness, and depression.  We fervently wish that all these crosses would just disappear and be gone forever.  But in a few moments we are going to venerate a cross, kiss it, and embrace it.  We are going to sing of the glory of the cross.  We are going to give the cross a place of great prominence and honor in our church.  Why would we do this when we really wish all our crosses would simply vanish?

We know, of course, that it is the cross of Christ that we embrace.  We recall the total dedication to us and to our world that caused the Son of the Living God not only to touch the cross, but to be nailed to it and to die on it.  We recall the unfathomable love that was the source of his putting up with all that excruciating pain, both physical and emotional.  And by venerating the cross we acknowledge that bringing good, and beauty, justice, and peace to our lives and our world demands great sacrifice in the face of so many sins and sorrows.  We recognize that we are often weak when we are confronted with the crosses in our lives.  But his cross can give us strength and resolve to carry our own.  A simple touch of the cross of Jesus may be all we need to keep going in spite of unbelievable difficulties we face.  A simple kiss given to the wood of the cross can be the gift that reminds us that our salvation hangs upon it, and that because Jesus overcame sin and death for us, he can give us hope and strength to carry any cross, to shoulder any burden.   It was in his weakness that he showed the greatest strength of his love, and so by his cross he gives us strength to carry our own with love and joy. 

 Come, let us worship!