Viewing Everything Through the Lens of the Cross

I’m still thinking about some of the lines of a sermon I heard on Friday by my friend and colleague Reggie Whitt, a Dominican priest who says the Friday weekday masses at UST Law School. The Gospel Friday was the parable of the wise and foolish virgins who were waiting for the arrival of the bridegroom. The five wise ones, anticipating that the bridegroom might be delayed, brought extra oil with them. The five foolish ones did not. By the time the bridegroom arrived, the lamps of the five foolish women were dying down. When they asked the wise women to borrow some of theirs, they were told there was not enough to share and so they needed to go buy their own, something that would have been impossible in the middle of the night.

I confess that I always thought the five designated as wise acted a bit selfishly, thinking they could have shared some of their oil with the others. Surely they could have spared a bit so that the five others didn’t have to go running around in the middle of the night on an errand that was doomed to failure. But that, of course, misses the point of the Gospel – that what the five foolish women of the story was lacking was not something that could be borrowed from another.

The line in the homily that brought that home to me was this: “You can’t borrow someone else’s fidelity to the Cross; and you can’t expect the world’s ways to supply it for you, if you run out.”

The parable is really, implied Reggie, about the lens through which we view the world. The power and wisdom of God at work in the Crucified Christ, he suggested, turns every other way of understanding the world upside down. And that set up the other line in the sermon that I have been sitting with. The heart of our reality as Christians, what sets the terms of our destiny, is the Crucified Christ and the Cross “is the lens through which all human experiences must be projected, and seen afresh.”

It seems to me it would make an enormous difference in our lives if we are intentional about viewing everything through the lens of the Cross. And that is a way of being, not something we can borrow.