A little over four years ago, our parish moved into our new church building. While I was impressed by the grandeur and scale of the building, and felt that they had done an excellent job of making a modern building feel special and holy, adding elements reflective of our parish’s Irish history, I confess that I wasn’t very impressed with the crucifix.
OK, to be honest, I didn’t like it at all. Jesus’s feet were to big, his lips were pursed in an odd way, and the nails in his hands and feet were missing. That bothered me the most. I kept waiting for the artist to come and finish his masterpiece by finally nailing those hands and feet to the cross.
Then one day someone pointed out that Jesus needed figurative “big feet” to bear the burdens that he had to bear and to do the work that he had to do. The big feet also serve as a reminder that it is now our responsibility to be the hands and feet of Christ. And with all the people of the Church making up those hands and feet, his feet are big, indeed!
One Sunday our priest spoke in his homily about our crucifix. He shared the fact that, shortly after coming to our parish, he spent several hours in prayerful reflection before the crucifix. He came to know “our Jesus” as the Jesus of John’s crucifixion – a Jesus who had total and complete control of the situation.
But still, those nail-less hands and feet bugged me… until one day I realized that,, if you covered the cross behind him and added a cloak, this crucified Jesus would become a resurrected Jesus. Thus, the artist has given us a visual reminder of the joy of the resurrection, even in the sorrow of the crucifixion.
Finally, not all that long ago, it dawned on me. Jesus remained on that cross, not because nails held him in place, but because love bound him there.
And I fell in love with our crucifix.
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