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Holy Week reflection: Bishop John McDowell - Jesus' love for us held him on the Cross

WHAT is it about the man on the Cross that holds our gaze more even than the child in the manger?

Why, when all the homilies have been forgotten and physical access to the sacrament of the altar shut off, does our heart rest still in the reality of the Man of Sorrows?

Is it the thought of the brutality he suffered? That has been a popular theme with Good Friday preachers.

Yet the New Testament writers are reticent about the squalid suffering. They do not emphasise the gory details.

Nor do I think that it is what was in the minds of the millions of suffering people down the centuries for whom the image of the man on the Cross has been the final comfort.

And, almost unbearable, as it is to think of, I suspect it will be the image of the cross before their closing eyes that will sustain many who are fearful or suffering alone during the Covid-19 emergency.

It was a messy world that put him there. It was his love that held him.

Right Reverend John McDowell,

Church of Ireland Bishop of Clogher and Archbishop-elect of Armagh

The Empty Cross, by Co Armagh artist Catherine Makem

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