Why is the crucifix the symbol of our faith and not the Risen Christ?

Categories: Questions of Faith

The Crucified and Risen Christ are inseparable. At Mass we say: we proclaim your Death, O Lord, and profess your Resurrection, until you come again. These are just a few thoughts about our use of the Crucifix, and not exhaustive:

1. On the Cross the Lord Jesus shows us the  unconditional, passionate love he has for us, and his infinite mercy. Although he is now Risen, his self-offering on the Cross continues to this day. In particular it is made present at Mass, and we receive in Holy Communion his Body broken on the Cross and his Blood poured out.

2. The Lord told us that we, too, have to take up our crosses (Mt 16.24). Being a disciple of Jesus does not mean a life free from sufferings and trials. These we must endure in faith as he did for us. By fixing our eyes on the Cross of Jesus we will not grow weary and lose heart (Heb 12:2). Only after the trials of this life can we hope to share in his Resurrection.

3. When the Lord had Risen he appeared to the apostles and showed them his wounds (Lk 24:39, Jn 20:20). Even after the Resurrection we are not meant to forget that it was through his suffering on the Cross that the Lord Jesus gained his victory over death and our salvation.

4. Every Sunday is the Lord’s Day, when we celebrate his Resurrection, and the most important feast in the Church’s year, the Feast of Feasts, is Easter Sunday, the day of the Resurrection. There is no question that as Catholics we downplay the Resurrection. We worship the one, the same, Crucified and Risen Christ.

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Catechism 571-658.


Author: Fr Andrew