John 6: 37-40 I Will Not Lose
Crucifixes are a very powerful tool of evangelization. The most beautiful are found in Europe, especially in Spain and in Italy because they are the most realistic. Those are the best because they truly can change your life. Take it from me. I grew up with many images of Christ, most of them bloody, and those are the best for young boys. In my parent’s bedroom, they have a statue hanging from the wall with just the Lord’s face and head in agony and crowned with thorns. It is very powerful to look at.
I wonder how many people have come back to the Church or have been saved by simply looking at a crucifix? The Centurion saw and believed. Many agnostics, atheists, protestants have come back to the Church because they entered a Church and saw Christ nailed to the Cross.
Many years ago, while I was at a job far, I saw a poster that shook the very foundations of my life. The pillars of my life were career, money and security. What was more important to me but my career? What was the point of choosing a career if not for money? What was the point of money if not to live a secure life, dependent on no one.
The poster was that of Christ on the Cross. It was the ugliest image I had ever seen of Christ. He had been beaten, bloodied and put to death. His hair was matted over his face. His face was disfigured, His body torn. At the very bottom of the poster were the names of priests and nuns who were killed that year. The poster read:
“You would never give your life up for a million dollars!
A missionary does it for a lot less.
Poor. Chaste. Obedient.
“Come Follow Me!”
It slapped me in the face. It shook me up. It had made an unwarranted impression on me. Why me? Why not me? It made no sense to me and yet it was important to me. I took a card because the poster invited me to, if I was interested in more information. I will never forget what a friend of mine said as he stood next to me, acknowledging the impact that it must have had on me. “Al, what’s up? Are you now going to be a priest?” I responded, “Of course not”, and I walked away…with the card in my pocket.
“Everything that the Father gives me will come to me, and I will not reject anyone who comes to me.” These words, spoken by Christ, are most deeply expressed by the crucifix – his sacrifice, his crucifixion. He died for all so that all might live.
“Everyone who sees the Son and believes in him may have eternal life.” The challenge to these words is that we must bring someone to see Christ on the cross. In other words, we, the faithful, must continue to bring ourselves and others back to that day, that site, that horrible and painful moment, when the Lord taught the world the meaning of love. This is how the world will be saved. This is what it takes. Tremendous love requires tremendous sacrifice.
Our God is a jealous God. He does not like losing. He will not lose! He will pull out all the stops. He will tug at our hearts. He will make us feel sorrow for Him, pity for Him. He will do whatever it takes to shake the very foundations of our lives so that we will rise with him on the last day.