Pastor’s Corner for the Easter Sunday, The Resurrection of the Lord, Year B, by Fr. Bruce Botha SJ

Keep your eye on the cross of Jesus


There is a Greek legend about an incredibly beautiful young man called Narcissus who fell in love with himself. This is the root of the psychological phenomena called narcissism. The story goes that the young man was out hunting and was getting thirsty. He finds a pool of water and leaning down to drink, Narcissus sees a reflection of someone as beautiful as a marble statue. Narcissus did not realize it was his own reflection and fell deeply in love with it, as if it were someone else. Unable to leave the allure of this image, Narcissus eventually realized that his love could not be reciprocated, and he melted away from the fire of passion burning inside him, eventually turning into a gold and white flower.


I tell this story as a warning to us all to keep our eye on the cross of Jesus, and to avoid the narcissistic error of making the cross all about ourselves.


We are all sinners; we have all fallen short of the glory of God. This insight from St Paul is as true today as it was 2 000 years ago. This is what it means to be human. We sin, we make mistakes, we turn from God. The same people who acclaimed Christ as the Messiah when he entered Jerusalem are the same people who also called for his crucifixion. While sin plays a role in the passion and death of Jesus, the foundational motivation is love. Jesus takes up the cross because he loves us, because he wants to remove all obstacles to a deeper and fuller relationship with God.


When we become obsessed with our own mistakes and sinfulness, when all we see is our own image, just as Narcissus fell in love with his own image, we lose the ability to see the bigger picture, we lose the ability to see beyond ourselves to the cross. The cross as symbol of salvation, the cross as symbol of God’s love for us.


Put differently, the cross is not a mirror for us to become entranced with. The cross is a portal, an invitation and a doorway to new life and new beginnings. We need to get over ourselves and the image we see in the mirror, distorted or true, and move through the cross to newness of life.


I wish you all a blessed triduum and Easter. May the sorrow of the cross give way to the joy of the resurrection. May you know the peace of the risen Christ who died and rose for love of you and me and everyone.

Fr. Bruce Botha SJ