'Come, Let Us Worship' -- Bishop O'Connell venerates the cross during the Commemoration of the Lord's Passion in Epiphany Parish, Brick. Ken Falls photos
'Come, Let Us Worship' -- Bishop O'Connell venerates the cross during the Commemoration of the Lord's Passion in Epiphany Parish, Brick. Ken Falls photos

On Good Friday, Christians throughout the world fix their gaze on the Cross of Christ and strive to understand the sacrifice that he endured in order to bring about our salvation and promise of eternal life.

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That desire to once again understand and appreciate the mystery of love that Jesus Christ showed for his people through his agonizing journey to Calvary and death on the Cross resonated deeply in the minds and hearts of the parishioners who gathered with Bishop David M.  O’Connell, C.M., for the solemn commemoration of the Lord’s Passion in Epiphany Church, Bick.

During the somber liturgy, Bishop O’Connell centered his homily on the cross, the central and widely known symbol of Christianity for more than 2,000 years.

“In a world where little seems permanent, where things come and go easily, where passing fads are commonplace, where so much is considered relative, including object of our human moral conscience, the fact that a symbol has endured for so long everywhere should convey something to everyone who sees it, even to those who do not believe in Christ or Christianity or religion,” said Bishop O’Connell.

“The cross that we behold, the crucifix that is the central symbol of our faith, held the body of the One whose only crime was that He loved us without condition or reservation and that He was willing to show the depth of His love with the ultimate and absolute sacrifice.”

As with all Good Friday services, the Commemoration of the Lord’s Passion in Epiphany Church included the reading of the Passion from St. John’s Gospel, the veneration of the Crucifix and the reception of Holy Communion.

Once again, the Bishop reminded Father Michael Santangelo, pastor, and the faithful of Epiphany parish to remember that the crucifix “is not a decoration or merely a symbol.”

“The crucifix is the most powerful reminder of the greatest love the world has ever known: one wooden beam pointing from the earth to the sky, pointing our attention to God; another wooden beam pointing from east to west, pointing our attention to our fellow human beings.”

“And what brings those two wooden beams, those two directions together, is a single body, His body, Jesus Christ, whose life and suffering and transforming love was a life and a love for all: a crucified love that has endured and will continue to endure,” said Bishop O’Connell. “A love that turns the wood of a tree the tree of defeat and death, into a tree of life and victory.”