Leaning Into Holy Week: Monday of Holy Week
"Almighty God, whose most dear Son went not up to joy but first he suffered pain, and entered not into glory before he was crucified: Mercifully grant that we, walking in the way of the Cross, may find it none other than the way of life and peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen."
The Way of the Cross is the way of life and peace.
The more we think about that claim, the weirder it should probably sound. The more we dwell on the Cross being the way of real life, the more that claim will probably feel out of step with our cultural currents. It certainly doesn’t feel like our culture operates as if that were true, does it? Maybe I’m conflating politics and culture a bit, but it seems to me that we’ve taken a turn toward a dog-eat-dog-world-mode of cultural conversation and especially of politics. The Cambridge Dictionary defines the idiom “dog-eat-dog” as being “used to describe a situation in which people will do anything to be successful, even if what they do harms other people”.
And sometimes it certainly seems like those people who do anything to get ahead get away with it, doesn’t it? If we see other folks doing evil and getting ahead by doing so, it can be quite tempting to respond in kind for the sake of our own prosperity. In a dog-eat-dog world, survival depends on being a more vicious dog than the next guy.
But the Cross clues us into reality: that’s not the way the world (at least the New World of the Kingdom of God that is here and expanding and still to come) works. In the end, reality will not conform to a fundamentally selfish vision of human relationships or power. In the end, it will be the ones who believe that the way of the Cross, that is, the way of self-sacrificial love for the good of the Other, who will experience true life and peace.
May God grant us more and more a heart to believe that the best life is a cruciform one. Amen.