A couple weeks ago, Elise and I went to daily Mass on a Friday, which at our parish is the school Mass. This Mass is usually celebrated by our pastor, and he tailors his homilies to the occasion, telling stories or asking questions of the children. The story he told at this particular Mass was this:
There once was a traveling priest in Central America who was responsible for ministering to several different parishes. One year, on Palm Sunday, he was about to leave a particular town to journey around to the others and celebrate Masses there, when he was stopped by a parishioner who begged him to visit a newborn baby who was very sick. The priest went to the baby's house and baptized him. It was not likely that the baby would survive.
The priest spent the week traveling around to the various parishes where he was assigned. At the end of the week, on Good Friday, he returned to the house where the baby lived, fearing the worst. When he entered the home, he found the baby's father there, kneeling before a crucifix and weeping. The priest was overcome with sorrow. "I'm so sorry about your baby," he said to the father.
"Why?" the father asked. "My baby is well!" The baby had made a complete recovery.
"Why are you crying, then?" asked the priest.
"Because it's Good Friday. I'm crying because Jesus died."
As Elizabeth Esther wrote:
The Catholic Church addresses death, suffering, agony and ugliness head-on. There is no dancing around the topic, no tidying up. The Crucifix only shocks us if we’ve forgotten what Christ endured. The Crucifix is a shorthand way of reminding us: “Look! Look at Me! Look what I did for you!”Yes. Look at what he did for us.