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Pastor's Column

I Have Been to Calvary

Pastor’s Column

Holy Week, 2016

I have never been to Calvary. This event happened 2000 years ago. Our faith takes us there; the liturgy and scripture of Palm Sunday and Good Friday take us there. And we need to go there to experience for ourselves in whatever way we can just how much God loves us, how much our salvation cost.

In some ways, however, I have been to Calvary in person, almost an eyewitness. For example, Auschwitz, Poland. Here, I found Christ. He died with the innocents there. Here were so many who were put to death for no other reason than their Jewish faith. When our pilgrimage was there some years ago, a Jewish group was going from barracks to barracks with a Star of David flag, which moved me to tears.

I have also been to Dachau. Dachau is near Munich, Germany, and was the prototype for all the later death camps. It was somewhat less harsh… instead cremating the prisoners, they simply worked most of them to death. This is where most of the priests were put to death as well (there were many), and as I stood on the spot where they were barracked, I found that Christ had also been there: this too was Calvary.

This past Friday, I and about 30 parishioners who were able to get away on a Friday afternoon, prayed the rosary in front of Planned Parenthood. We simply stood there, peacefully saying the rosary. No signs. No theatrics. Just prayer. Opposite us at some distance was a guard watching us intently. Here too, we found Christ, for he is surely with every single innocent life that leaves this earth in this modern version of a legal death camp for children who are unwanted.

Jesus waits to forgive us, for this and other sins we may have committed. This is why he was allowed to die the way he did; though without sin, he bore all of ours, everything forward, through time, in these examples and in every other person who has suffered, innocent or guilty. All we have to do is accept him, believe in him, and ask his forgiveness (especially in the Sacrament of Confession). He will do the rest.

Father Gary

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