Lent is a time when most Christians reflect on a variety of life’s trials and tribulations. These forty days provides each of us with the opportunity to reflect on our relationship with Christ and our connection to the Catholic Church that He created. This is also a time when we remember those who have completed their earthly journey and through their faith find themselves seated at the table of our Lord. It is because we remember that we pray; it is because of our faith that we have hope. Sitting in a pew and gazing upon the Cross, one can only imagine the pain and anguish suffered on that afternoon in Jerusalem. Some jeered and even cheered and others wept because this man who had done no wrong was to be put to death in a manner reserved for the worst of criminals. To those who do not believe, I ask why was this fate hoisted upon this innocent man and why did He accept it so willingly if not for something greater.
As people of faith, we must be ever vigilant in the face of forces that ridicule us for our beliefs. When we are mocked for actually believing that there is a God and that this Father in Heaven had a Son and the Son came to save us from our sins, we accept this ridicule with grace. When we are told that this story is like those told of the gods of ancient Greece and Rome, we smile and accept this laughter. When we are told that the Holy Bible is a nice story written to entertain the masses, we simply smile and acknowledge the critics blindness. When Jesus is compared to Santa Claus, we pray for the denier and hope that the cloud will be removed from their eyes.
I am blessed to have been given the gift of my Catholic faith by my parents and have been further blessed because it has flourished because of my unwavering belief in God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. If ever I find myself questioning my faith or the institution of my Catholic Church founded by Christ, I need only ask “what did they see?”
Hiding in a room terrified that they would be next, the Apostles found themselves lost. What do you do when the man who has been your rock for the last three years is brutally tortured and then nailed to a wooden cross? Fear is an overwhelming emotion and would cause many of us to simply hide and eventually return to our old lives hoping that we escape the fate of our leader. What did they see that made these men rid themselves of the fear and begin building our church? Is it possible that the story is real and that a man who we know to be the Son of God appeared to them and set them on the path to change the world? Only the Divinity of our Catholic Church can truly explain how a man who should have died in obscurity brought hope to our world, a hope that is as real today as it was on that day when a group of men and women witnessed a miracle.