Today I would like to direct your attention to the Good Friday sermon given by Father Raniero Cantalamessa at the Vatican.
He starts off by going through the writings of Paul and reviewing the things which he has to say about the cross. It becomes quickly clear from looking at passages such as 1 Corinthians 1:22-24, 2 Corinthians 5:14, and Galatians 6:14 that the cross is the central element of the Christian faith and the glory and boast of every Christian, even if the Christians of his day didn’t exactly see it that way.
He goes on from there to reflect on the current challenges to the Christian faith, specifically the slogan now seen on buses in London and other European cities: “There’s probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life.” From there he goes into the idea of suffering, how the cross redefines our notions of sacrifice and even our notions of suffering. The cross was not the sacrifice of man attempting to appease an angry God, rather it was the sacrifice of God to destroy the power of sin. Through the cross, suffering now becomes a means of redemption, a pathway to resurrection and new life.
He finishes it off by going back to the slogan that “God probably doesn’t exist”. He takes us to Pascal’s wager: If we who believe in the existence of God are wrong we have lost nothing, but if those who do not believe in the existence of God are wrong they have lost everything. In so doing he notes that this slogan serves God’s cause better than many of our apologetic arguments. God can turn even those who most persistently deny Him into His strongest advocates; this in fact was the case with Paul.