A Catholic Convert in Ottawa

Posts Tagged ‘cross

As the afternoon sun turned to clouds today, I thought about the old saw that April showers bring May flowers. For the beauty of spring to materialize, we need those cloudy, rainy days.

The same is true of our faith: to reach the joy of Easter, we must first go through Good Friday. Without Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross, there would be no resurrection to proclaim. And only once Jesus returned to the Father did the Holy Spirit come to the apostles, preparing them to go out and begin building the Church by proclaiming the good news to the Jews and the Gentiles.

Yes, the Good Friday service can be sombre, with the reading of the Passion story and veneration of the cross making Jesus’ sacrifice more real, and with our leaving the church in silence. But we can look forward to the joy of the light spreading in the church at the Easter Vigil. We can gladly sing the Gloria again at whichever Easter service we attend.

As we gather with family to celebrate Easter, I pray that we would look beyond the chocolate, candy and cards and remember that, before the disciples rejoiced at his rising, Jesus died on the cross to save us from our sins.

But he was wounded for our transgressions,

he was bruised for our iniquities;

upon him was the chastisement that made us whole,

and with his stripes we are healed.

~ Isaiah 53:5*

(*Scripture quote taken from the Holy Bible, Revised Standard Version, Second Catholic Edition.)

This week, the local newspaper has been full of stories and pictures of people excitedly waiting for the birth of the royal heir. They want to show their support for the monarchy and welcome the future king. And they might even buy a commemorative plate or spoon.

Tonight in Ottawa, KISS fans will head to a concert at the Canadian Tire Centre. More than a few will show they’re huge fans by painting their faces black and white in the same style as the band’s members.

And when the next World Cup rolls around, many soccer fans will show their support for their favourite teams by attaching those small national flags to their car windows.

It seems that we’re more than happy to don a concert t-shirt or team jersey to proclaim our status as fans, but how eager are we to show others something fundamental about our lives—the fact that we’re Christians?

Rarely do I see anyone wearing a cross outside church, let alone driving a car sporting a “Honk if you love Jesus” bumper sticker. Yet faith-related fashion items, for example, are definitely available to consumers: an Internet search for “Catholic t-shirts” or “Catholic jewellery” produces a surprising number of hits.

Perhaps we’re worried about offending others if we (literally) wear our faith on our sleeve. It would be understandable, given that our society often behaves as though even mentioning Christian holidays is unacceptable.

But if I look around Ottawa, even just in my part of the city, I see Jewish men wearing yarmulkes, Sikh men wearing turbans, and Muslim women wearing hijabs—all of which proclaim the wearers’ faith to everyone they meet.

I’m not saying that we need to rush out and buy Christian-themed mugs, mouse pads and sweatshirts or that we should wear a cross all the time. But I am saying that if we wanted to wear a t-shirt or carry a tote bag that tells others about our faith, I hope we would feel as comfortable about showing where we stand as the monarchists who buy “Royal Baby” souvenirs or fans who paint their faces do.

Food for Thought

(Y)ou do not know about tomorrow. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and we shall do this or that.” ~ James 4:14-15

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