You notice we have three stained glass windows from the old church here, representing the Resurrection, the Ascension and Pentecost. Scripture scholars tell us that Christ’s resurrection, his Ascension and the coming of the Holy Spirit are all part of the Easter event. The church has separated them in order to allow us to contemplate the meaning of two aspects of a single, indivisible event; Christ’s rising from the dead.
If I were to give this sermon a title it would be ‘God spare us from the righteous.’ I’ve been reading a couple of novels recently about the time of Cromwell and Thomas More and Henry the 8th. They were harsh and cruel times in which to live. If you didn’t toe the line with whoever had religious authority at the time and stuck to your convictions you were either hanged or burned at the stake. You had Protestants killing Catholics and Catholics killing Protestants and both of them killing the Anabaptists all in the name of true religion. The intolerance found in the histories of world religions is amazing, both Christian and non- Christian. Everyone thought their way was the only way and any other way was to be mercilessly stamped out. The same is true in our own times. Religious fanaticism is alive and well in our day. There are people who are willing to destroy the lives of others convinced they are doing God’s will, convinced they are giving God glory.
Founded by St. Paul of the Cross, every Passionist takes a special vow to spend his or her energies in promoting remembrance of the sufferings of Jesus, the memory of the Cross, and reflection of the meaning of the Cross for the world.