Cardinal Nichols on the beauty behind Christ’s suffering that points to the eternal

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Good Friday 2023, Westminster Cathedral

Cardinal Vincent Nichols reminds us, in his homily preached during the Liturgy of the Passion in Westminster Cathedral, that Jesus dying on the cross points to a healing of our wounds and the promise of life and joy to come:

“There is a haunting beauty to the Gospel of the Passion of the Lord which we have just heard proclaimed. Now we allow that beauty to sink into our souls, moving us with love of the Lord who gives his life for our sake.

“Shortly the image of the crucified Jesus will be held aloft before us. Here too is an astonishing beauty.

“Yet beauty is such a strange word to use of this image of great suffering and a cruel death.

“But, yes, it is true. It is the right word to use.

“All true beauty lifts us beyond ourselves, out of ourselves. Beauty points to something greater, something which takes our breath away. We know when we stand before true beauty. And we do so here, today.

“This is the work of Jesus. In the midst of our broken world, marred by sin, in his dying on the cross he points to something far greater. He points to a healing of our wounds, to the promise of life and joy to come. In the rockface of our harsh and suffering age, this crucified Jesus, held high before us, is a great fissure in that rock, an opening in its bleakness, through which floods a transforming light, bathing us in hope and, indeed, joy. We come to him, come into this light, filled with love and gratitude at the beauty he embodies: love unto the end, life over death.

“We adore you, O Christ, and we praise you. Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.”