Q: Why do the cross and statues get covered before Good Friday and Holy Week?
A:This is a very good question, and it may be on the minds of many people after just having entered into the Easter season. The covering of the cross or crucifix and statues enjoys a centuries-old history in the Church. The coverings during the Lenten season are a common practice, but not required.
The prevailing mindset of this practice is to assist the faithful to focus their attention on the redemptive acts of Jesus in which Lent trains our attention. Just like our Lenten penances, the coverings help us focus on our Lord’s passion.
The Church is blessed with a treasury of symbols and images, all of which are meant to enable us to grow in faith, hope and love. The particular season of Lent sharpens our senses to be attentive all the more to Jesus’ suffering and death for our salvation.
Q: My religion teacher said that it is mentioned in the Bible that Jesus has cousins. If he had cousins, then why did he give Mary to John to take care of her?
A: It is true that in the time of Jesus’ passion and resurrection family would welcome into the household a relative who is a widow, especially if there are no other children of hers alive. It, also, would seem that this would be the case with Mary, the Mother of Jesus and the Mother of God. From the cross, though, Jesus provides the foundation of our relationship with Mary: Mary becomes our Mother (see, John, Chapter 19, Verses 26-27).
Jesus entrusts John to Mary for he entrusts the Church to Mary. As Mary cooperated in the saving action of God giving birth to our Savior Jesus, Mary, our Mother, continues to guide the Church with a mother’s care. A mother’s care is near, not distant.
Moreover, from the cross, Jesus, also, indicates the “kind” of relationship the Church and all believers have with Mary: This is personal. Mary’s personal relationship with all Christians should give us great comfort that Mary watches over us daily. Mary is made the mother of all disciples and to us all. The next time you pray the Hail Mary, the rosary or another Marian devotion, remember, Mary is right there for you.
Q: Why did the prodigal son’s father welcome the foolish son with such warm and kind feelings, not throwing a party for the son who stayed and did work for his father?
A: It appears the son who stayed at home shared the same question you do. The father’s answer to that son indicated the father’s great love for both sons. In no way does the father advocate the wayward actions of the other son. The father does not explain away or find a flimsy excuse for the prodigal son’s actions, but uses the situation to show that his heart remains completely open to the both of them.
Here Jesus communicates to all of us the Father’s love God has for us. His love is full of mercy and compassion, even when we find ourselves in the most unfortunate of circumstances.
The parable of The Prodigal Son is termed by many the greatest story ever told. I would like to go further in saying that it is a story about the greatest love there is – the love God has for us.
However, Jesus did not tell this story to his friends to entertain them. No, Jesus shows us the depth of his love for us and that we are commissioned to do the very same as fellow Christians. Our Christian lives are not static, but active and full of life. In forgiving others, especially family, we share the very love and compassion of the father in the parable.
As we continue our celebration of Easter and approach Divine Mercy Sunday, may you experience the immense love and mercy of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
He is Risen!