***WARNING- MORE CATHOLIC TALK IN THIS POST****
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see what our culture reveres. We value “sexiness,” we value “swag” and we above all value money. Those who have it want more, and those who don’t have it try to get it from those that have it by hanging out as groups in places like Wall Street and not bathing for months on end. (Has anyone heard anything from those Occupying nutjobs lately?) We post up what we’ve been shopping for and where, we display or Guess and Gucci labels like Purple Hearts, We try and outdo our neighbors every year by buying more Christmas decorations and bigger ones. Oh? You have a singing life-size Santa made of cake being pulled by twenty-five jetpack-laden reindeer? Well, I have eighty-three real candy canes, each one ten feet tall, being held up by an army of elves, each wearing Chanel shift dresses in a custom merlot color, and bedazzled with 14th century gold coins! (Seriously, that’s what it feels like walking around the neighborhood sometimes!) Money is the great idol that most people are beholden to, even those that claim to be “10000% fo’ Jeezus!!”
But God doesn’t care all that much about money. Or even swag. *Gasp!* you say, on the other side of the screen, “What are you saying? That God doesn’t care that I got my BFF and I matching sweaters at Forever 21? You monster!!” Sorry, my fashionable friend, but He really doesn’t. In fact, God couldn’t really care less about earthly treasures. In today’s gospel, Jesus is being examined by Pilate. Pilate asks Jesus if he really is a king, to which Jesus replies that his kingdom is not of this world (John 18 33-36) and that he came to bring truth and life, not to rule over an earthly kingdom. Jesus sought no throne of gold, no iPhone 5, and no Louboutin pumps (presumably only because they weren’t around yet.) The only throne Jesus had was a wooden cross, the only crown a cap of thorns. He had no rings or Converse high-tops. Instead, nails pierced his hands and feet. He wasn’t wearing Guess jeans or that new Justin Beiber perfume. He was stripped of all clothing, and smelled like sweat and blood.
And yet he showed more glory, more majesty, more beauty than every one of those expensive brands put together. In the form of a blood-soaked murdered carpenter, there is more allure than in a billion dresses, more sweetness than a thousand perfumes, more real love than any well-wrapped gift could ever convey. As we push and shove and even shoot each other over the best deals this holiday season, we forget that Jesus has already given each of us a greater gift than we could ever imagine. The gift of the life of God, a savior “for the lowest of men to the richest of kings.” (10 points to whoever correctly guesses where that line is from!) The gift of being with us, until the end of the ages, in the form of the bread and wine He left for us 2000 years ago.
And if you thought that last line was Catholic, just wait until you hear this next part!
See that? That’s the obelisk in St. Peter’s square in Vatican City. Let’s take a closer look, shall we?
See THAT? It’s a cross, you say. Yes. Yes. it is. Or, more specifically, it is THE Cross.
No, I’m not kidding. Inside that bronze cross, there is a piece (one of the last pieces on earth) of the Cross on which our God spilled his blood. That bit of wood became the vital piece of the greatest love story in history. It touched His blood, poured out for all of us. It supported His body as He gave his life for us. Multiple miracles attest the veracity of this claim. Now, for those of you who (like me) are tearing up at the thought that the actual cross is still on earth and you can get within 100 feet of it, have a tissue.
Love to all!