Good Friday Your Cross is Precious

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This is my first time getting to celebrate Holy Week here at our parish, at St. Gabriel’s. That’s one of the wonderful things of being an associate that you get to experience different liturgies in different communities. And one the thing that is so striking about Friday service is I’ve never seen a cross as big as this. It’s just absolutely breathtaking and beautiful. The maintenance man was bringing it over on Monday and it takes a few of them to bring it over on a dolly and after they brought it over he pulled me aside and said, “I want to tell you a story” and I said, “OK.”

He said this story took place 6 years ago. He was bringing the cross over rolling it across the parking lot and it was right before Good Friday. As he was rolling it over all a sudden, he lost the balance of the cross and this entire cross slammed down in the parking lot and made a huge thud and he started to panic thinking he might have broken. The amazing thing is, it has remained mostly intact except for one tiny little piece that broke off. So Deacon Bob, if you can give me a hand here, I’m not actually tall enough to reach this piece because it’s right up there. If you can’t see it, I’m going to get it in a moment. But this tiny piece that broke off he didn’t know what to do with. It broke off and he knew that the cross was holy and that the cross was blessed and he didn’t know what he would do with the piece that broke off.

Right here, this little piece broke off. When it broke off he actually held it like this, and when he held it actually cut his hand and his hand began to bleed and he was reminded right away of the Passion of Our Lord. It also came to him that it was the same year his father died. So six years ago his father died, and he held this cross in his hand and just allowed himself to hold it whenever he was grieving. He would keep it in his pocket at different times all throughout the year except for today… except for good friday when it’s placed back in the cross. And what’s beautiful about it is this has become completely smooth, worn, all the rough edges and sharpness of it are gone.

He shared with me that over the years when he noticed other parishioners were suffering he would give it to them to hold on to. It was just something to hold when they are going through a difficult time. Over the years, what I am impressed by, is that not only has this once sharp shard of the wood of the cross become smooth, it’s become a precious object.

The reality is that each and every one of us has a cross. Think about whatever cross you’ve been given in this life, the truth is your cross is so precious to God. Even more precious than this piece of wood has been to the people who have held it, your cross is precious to God.

Sometimes we wonder why we have the crosses that we have and the mystery of suffering and why we have to suffer. Jesus understands your suffering more than anyone. And if we allow our suffering to be united to His… all of a sudden our cross becomes precious to God, the Father.

God, the Father, takes and holds you and your cross… so much so that your cross over the years or over your lifetime will actually transform from something that was rough and painful to something that is smooth and precious and gentle. It can become a sacramental uniting you to Jesus.

Remember, that whatever your cross is, it is precious to the Lord, not only that but your cross fits in the greater cross. Not only that your cross is part of the amazing cross of our Lord Jesus.
(The small piece is placed back into the large cross).

About the Author Fr. Michael Denk

Fr. Michael was ordained into priesthood in the Diocese of Cleveland on May 12, 2007. He is dedicated to helping others encounter Christ through the celebration of the Eucharist, preaching, the Sacrament of Reconciliation, spiritual direction, and prayer.

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I'm Father Michael J. Denk, a priest of the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland. I am a contributor of content to The Prodigal Father Productions, Inc., a non-profit corporation functioning in accord with the traditions and the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church. The corporation and I are separate, it doesn't speak for me, the parish, or on behalf of the Diocese of Cleveland, and I do not speak for it.