When we make the sign of the cross as we enter and leave the church, do we do so in a hurried manner? Do we know that the sign of the cross has a greater meaning? The sign of the cross is part of our Christian identity and by making the sign of the cross, we acknowledge that Jesus died for us on the cross and that the cross paved the channel for forgiveness, love and that suffering can be overcome. It is a universal symbol in the church and the sign of the cross has to be made with great reverence and sincerity.
In last week’s gospel reading, Jesus reiterates his promise of eternal life and his saving grace.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his only son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life.” (John 3:17)
By dying on the cross for humanity, Jesus sacrificed himself to redeem us from sin and that the world might be saved. Often, we let ourselves down, the people around us and even God, but Jesus is always there for us 24 hours a day and 7 days a week to restore our tired bodies and give us the strength to carry on. He has also promised to deliver us from our weaknesses and troubles in life if we trust in him. The cross is a symbol of his love, peace and glory.
This reflection was delayed due to the increasing workload of examinations and assignments that wore me out both physically and mentally. It left me with worries and many doubts whether I was going to make it in the university and graduate eventually. I knew that I needed help and it came to me in the form of the Catholic Society. It was the short period of time when I did not feel troubled and knew that Jesus was there with me. I am glad I joined the society as it gave me reassurance that Jesus is present and that I can take an hour or so to be at peace.
So far, I have been attending the meetings and have learned a lot through the sharings. The society has prepared a series of sharings by the different members and the focus is on St Peter and his wanting to know Jesus. The first meeting touched on the topic of christian identity. We had to go around campus to take a photograph that represented our current identity. Fr Alex also shared about his identity as a priest and our christian D.N.A which stands for Dynamic, New-Life, Awesome and describes our christian identity in terms of our faith and spirituality.
The second meeting was about finding out what Jesus really meant to us. The sharing was about asking us to find out what Jesus means to us; Jesus asked St Peter “Who do you say I am?” Jesus, to me, is a Friend, Teacher and Adviser. He is a Friend because he is present at all times in our lives and he listens to our uncertainties in life. Sometimes, our own friends may not understand what we are going through. Prayer is a good way to strengthen the friendship with Jesus. He is also a Teacher as I am taking many subjects which I do not understand. I pray that Jesus gives me the wisdom and guidance to make sense of the increasing toughness of the modules. He is also an Adviser as he guides me in doing what is right. Yes, no one is perfect but the most important aspect is to keep trying. Whenever I fall in life, Jesus is my pillar of strength and consolation.
Throughout the sessions, I enjoyed the praise and worship songs chosen as it gives me hope and assurance that Jesus is always there to brave the storms in life with me, and particularly when I feel the most alone and overwhelmed. Also, I went to a friend’s dance performance in a Christian church, and it showed me that Jesus uses different media to speak to us. By offering my fears, worries and doubts, I hope that I can find proper rest and regain the focus again.
Everyone has crosses to carry and Pope Francis reminds us for the month of September to pray for the mentally disabled and the poor that they can be helped and loved by society and the people around them. I would like to end this reflection with a song that highlights Jesus’s affirmation and the reminder to surrender everything to Jesus.
Who am I, that the Lord of all the earth
Would care to know my name,
Would care to feel my hurt?
Who am I, that the Bright and Morning Star
Would choose to light the way
For my ever wandering heart?
Not because of who I am
But because of what You’ve done.
Not because of what I’ve done
But because of who You are.
I am a flower quickly fading,
Here today and gone tomorrow.
A wave tossed in the ocean.
A vapor in the wind.
Still You hear me when I’m calling.
Lord, You catch me when I’m falling.
And You’ve told me who I am.
I am Yours, I am Yours.
Song By: Casting Crowns
God Bless! and let us lift up all our burdens to Jesus that he will make things better.
Written By: Darren Chan Keng Leong