Two others, both criminals, were led out to be executed with Him.
When they came to a place called The Skull, they nailed Him to the cross.
And the criminals were also crucified – one on His right and one on His left.
– Luke 23:32-33 (NLT)
Three crosses being carried up Calvary
by three persons to be crucified on that same afternoon.
Two convicted criminals…and Jesus,
each one carrying his cross up to the place of execution.
Here they are, three men, each laden with a cross,
walking towards death.
But only one is the Saviour of the world.
Only one of the crosses is the redeeming Cross.
The cross can be carried in different ways
– depending on the individual, depending on the attitude.
There is the cross carried furiously or sullenly,
in a rage,
perhaps writhing and squirming,
filled with hate,
or at least with a deep and burning resentment.
It is the cross without meaning and without explanation – useless.
It is the cross that can even separate one from God.
It is the cross of those bereft of humility,
of those who only seek comfort and well-being,
who will not put up with neither suffering nor setbacks,
for they have no wish to understand the supernatural meaning of pain.
This is a cross that does not redeem.
This is the cross carried by one of the criminals.
There is a second cross,
this time carried with resignation,
perhaps even with some dignity,
with an acceptance of responsibility,
with an acceptance of the situation simply because there is no alternative to it.
This the cross carried by the other criminal.
Little by little he realises
that close to him is the sovereign figure of Christ,
who will radically change the final moments of his life on earth,
and for eternity.
This criminal, this thief, will be the one converted into “the good thief”.
Then there is a third way of carrying the cross.
Jesus embraces the saving wood
and teaches us how we ought to carry our own cross:
co-redeeming all souls with Him,
while also making reparation for our own sins.
Our Lord has conferred on human suffering a deep meaning.
He chose to redeem us through suffering
for, as He Himself taught us,
“there is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” (Jn 1:13)
How do I bear my difficulties and sorrows?
And have I made use of my “crosses” to bring me closer to Christ
and to make me more like Him?
REPETITIVE PRAYER FOR TODAY…
My Jesus, my God! May I hate sin, and unite myself to You,
taking the Holy Cross into my arms, so that I may humbly and faithfully fulfil Your will.
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Note: The main source of today’s REFLECTION is the seven-volume work
“In Conversation with God” by Padre Francisco Fernández Carvajal.