…We come here to venerate this shroud and the cross, this tree that continues to burn forever with love and mercy. Let us come with torches and swords and the determination of those persecutors of Jesus, not to crucify Jesus Christ, but to nail to the cross our own selfishness, lack of truthfulness, hatreds, and infidelities, to let them be burned on the cross that can never itself be consumed. We come as Judas, who betrayed Jesus; as Peter, who denied him; as the crowd that jeered him; or as Pilate, who knew the truth but showed his pitiful weakness by cowering with bravado before the false but loud voices of opposition. Like Moses, who stood before that burning bush, venerating this burning tree sets us on a mission to set free all who are in the grip of sin and Satan, beginning with ourselves, but ending only when the Good News reaches to the ends of the earth.
When we finally realize and confess who Christ is, the heart of the great I AM is trust open to pour forth water and blood, to bathe us and give us life. And when we are washed in the blood of this spotless Lamb, we will come to know not only who Jesus Christ is, but who we truly are, when he becomes I AM WITH YOU…”