This homily was given at St. Patrick’s Seminary & University, Menlo Park, CA on the Twenty-first Friday in Ordinary Time, August 26, 2022. The audio is available here.
On the road to Calvary, the heavy cross tears into Our Lord’s shoulders.
He stumbles beneath its weight.
As he lies upon the ground, Jesus, with an effort of love, lifts his head … turns his face toward you, beside him on the ground.
You and I have fallen, too, under the weight of the cross each time we sin.
When we fall, usually, we are quick to get up again.
We may be in terrible pain, but we hide it, hoping no one saw us stumble.
In our hurry to move on, we step over Jesus, the sinless One who bears the weight of our sins alongside us, who falls beside us under the cross.
Our haste to “get over it,” to move on from our fall, without repenting of our deeper self-reliance, amounts to stepping over Jesus on the road.
As we run ahead in self-reliance, it’s not long before we stumble and fall again.
Jesus prefers to fall and be wounded with us rather than let go of the wood of that cross, that yoke which binds you to Jesus and Jesus to you.
That’s how He heals the self-reliance that makes us run ahead and stumble.
His falling with us gives us the opportunity, not to get up and run ahead under our own feeble power … but to rise, once and for all, with Him.
“For the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.”
Whatever may discourage us today, a little stumble, or a big fall: look at Jesus.
Our fallings can only separate us from Jesus if we get up and run from Him!
Today, as we receive Him who comes down to us from Heaven in Holy Communion, take the yoke of Jesus, the cross, upon your shoulders.
Hold on tight to that cross … stay with Jesus … and rise again with Him.
The road to Calvary is steep and hard, but that mountaintop is bathed in sunlight, and as we go forward with the Lord, we are sure to reach the summit and to share His victory.