Jesuit Father Fred Betti, director of campus ministry at Canisius High School, in Buffalo, N.Y., offers a reflection on the themes of triumph and tragedy in the final Lenten podcast from the New England and New York Province Jesuits.
Fr. Betti reminds us that on Good Friday we are encouraged to focus on the most essential part of our faith: the cross of Jesus. He recounts an inspiring story from one of his students that helped Fr. Betti appreciate the place of the cross. The student visited Long Island, N.Y., during Christmas vacation to help victims of Hurricane Sandy. While sorting through the rubble, the student found a beautiful silver crucifix with dried palm branches wrapped around it from the previous year’s Holy Week.
According to Fr. Betti, the student said, “There in the midst of the rubble, I saw the crucified Christ. And it was almost as if Christ was saying, ‘I’m here. I’m here suffering in the midst of all this disaster with all those who also were suffering through the terrible aftermath of that hurricane and how it destroyed so much in people’s lives.’”
Fr. Betti explains that God loves us but does not simply take our suffering away – he suffers with us.
“As we think about what the cross means to us, we realize Jesus, through his cross, made an unbearable burden bearable, because he took that suffering with him, the suffering of all times and all places. He destroyed its fatal power by offering it to God through his voluntary death on the cross for each and every one of us.”
Fr. Betti encourages us to take a moment each day to ask ourselves, “How seriously do I take this story of Jesus’ greatest act of love for me?”
Listen to the full podcast at the New England Province website.