Behold the wooden cross

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Feast of Pentecost marks final week of seven in the Easter celebration

We are celebrating the final week of the Easter Season. This Sunday we begin celebrating a new spiritual reality—the feast of Pentecost—in which the fullness of the spirit came to rest over the apostles (Acts of the Apostles 2:1-12).

Freed of their fears following the crucifixion, and strengthened by the power of the spirit, they were ready to whole-heartedly preach, teach and heal in the name of Jesus Christ.

A stately, white-draped cross stands in the church yard at St. John the Evangelist. Throughout the seven weeks of the Easter Season, it has been a sign for the passersby that death is not the final word.

For those who believe in Jesus Christ, resurrection trumps death for every person, for all time, in every circumstance.

Jesus emptied himself and came to live among his people. He was fully human in every way except sin. That meant for Jesus not only the joy of successful preaching and healing in the father’s name, but also the pain of ridicule, rejection, denunciation and death by crucifixion.

The beloved son, in whom the father was well pleased, did not get a waiver from crises in life. Neither does one who follows the Lord—from Jesus’ time even to the end of time.

“Before you get serious about Jesus, first consider how good you are going to look on wood,” said Daniel Berrigan, who suffered much in life for his stand on social justice. His personal testimony highlights Jesus’ own words on the night before he died, “No servant is greater than his master, nor any messenger greater than the one who sent him. (John 13:16)

When Jesus appeared to his disciples after the resurrection, he still bore the wounds of crucifixion, but they no longer had power over him. Isn’t it the same for us. We may look back on our own crucifixions—name them, claim them, and remember the details of the agonizing journey to our own resurrection experience.

While we still have the scars, they no longer hold us bound. They have become symbols of our transformation to new life. Through Jesus’ resurrection and our own too, life continues to triumph death, even life in abundance.   


Sister Paula Gohs is the bilingual pastoral associate at St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church in Carrollton.