The Catholic world has celebrated its great feast, commemorating the Passion and Resurrection of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. It is an occasion of great hope, a hope that we carry with us into the Easter season and beyond.
During Holy Week, Pope Francis gave a talk during a general audience in which he spoke of the discouragement the followers of Christ felt after His death on the cross, but that God, as he has done so many times in salvation history, converted the cross from a symbol of despair and defeat to one of hope and victory over death.
“One image remained fixed in the minds of the disciples: the cross,” the pope said. “That is where everything ended. That is where the end of everything was centered. But in a little while, they would discover a new beginning right there, in the cross.”
The apostles’ emotions of confusion and loss and disappointment after Christ’s crucifixion are not foreign to us in these modern times, the pope noted. “There is nothing entirely strange regarding the discouragement that oppressed the disciples,” Pope Francis said. “Gloomy thoughts and feelings of frustration accumulate in us as well. Why is there so much indifference toward God? … Why is there so much evil in the world? … Why do inequalities continue to increase and why is that long-awaited peace not arriving? Why are we so attached to war, to treating each other badly?”
But just as the disciples found new hope in the cross, so can we.
“Out of the most terrible instrument of torture, God wrought the greatest sign of his love,” Pope Francis said. “Let us look at the tree of the cross so that hope might germinate in us – that everyday virtue, that silent, humble virtue, but also that virtue that keeps us on our feet, that helps us move forward. It is not possible to live without hope. Let us think: Where is my hope? Today, let us look at the tree of the cross so that hope might germinate in us … that we might be healed of our sadness.”
In Jesus on the cross, naked and wounded, the disciples found hope and so can we, the pope reminded us.
We all are wounded in some way. But we can unite our wounds with those of Christ on the cross so from the wounds can spring hope, the pope said. “Jesus does not incriminate on the cross, but loves. He loves and forgives those who hurt him. Thus, he converts evil into good; thus, he converts and transforms sorrow into love.”
But we cannot hide our hope, Pope Francis said.”Our wounds can become springs of hope when, instead of feeling sorry for ourselves or hiding them, we dry the tears shed by others; when, instead of nourishing resentment for what was robbed of us, we take care of what others are lacking; when, instead of dwelling on ourselves, we bend over those who suffer; when, instead of being thirsty for love, we quench the thirst of those in need of us. For it is only if we stop thinking of ourselves, that we will find ourselves again.”
There are so many opportunities in our lives, big and small, when we can turn our wounds into hope. As we carry Easter forward in our lives, seek out those opportunities. Find a way to bring our hope in Christ to others.