March 15, 44 BC in Rome was not an ordinary day. The homes, streets and markets were overtaken by unrest and worry as the residents learned about Julius Caesar’s assassination. The beloved leader was killed; the protector of Rome was no more. The brave general who fought, survived, and prevailed against Barbarian armies was betrayed and killed in his own city. People flooded the streets. A large crowd assembled in front of the senate building where the bloody assassination took place.
Not all of us are fans of the ancient world’s history, but we all probably know about this story from Shakespeare’s play Julius Caesar. In one of the most famous scenes of the play, the conspiracy leader, Marcus Brutus, steps forward to explain to the anxious crowd why it was necessary and justified, for the good of the state, that Caesar should have been killed. His speech is eloquent, his arguments are rational and reasonable. Right after him, a very different man steps forward. Mark Antony was Caesar’s friend. He starts by stating that he is not a great orator like Marcus Brutus and that he is there only requesting permission to bury his friend’s body. The honesty and grief of Mark Antony touch the hearts of everyone in the crowd who, despite the logical and reasonable arguments of the conspirators, align with and support Mark Antony.
For an idea, a concept to inspire and empower us, it does not have to be philosophically, logically justified. Yes, we are rational creatures, we are created to experience and explore, learn and analyze the world we live in. However, the world and life, in general, can also sometimes be utterly irrational. We can truly connect and relate to the people and the world we live in on many levels, such as emotional and spiritual. The spiritual perspective, the view of the world and our lives as they appear from the Cross, is what St. Paul discusses in today’s scripture reading, where he makes the following profound statement.
“For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” – 1 Corinthians 1:18
Yes, the spiritual and faith perspective is often not easy to discern and fully comprehend. Yet, it is necessary for us to learn and practice viewing our lives’ events and our experiences from the spiritual perspective, from the view of the Cross. The cross is not something purely Biblical, unique only to Jesus Christ and his Crucifixion. Each of us deep inside our hearts and souls has their own cross – the sign and symbol of our faith and relationship with God. We care and carry this divine gift of faith through our participation in the church, through a life of prayer and contemplation.
During the dark days of life, when nothing makes sense, when all hope fades away, when it appears that we hit rock bottom of life and there is no solution and remedy for our wounds – it is our faith that cares and carries us. When nothing makes sense – faith helps us find assurance and certainty, when all hope, light and life fade away – faith starts shining its lights from deep within our hearts and showing us the way. When it appears that there is nothing to do and nowhere to go, it is our faith that carries us to our Cross – our personal experience of God in our lives. From there new horizons, new possibilities and perspectives open for us.
With this conviction, our ancestors lived their lives for thousands of years, fought and prevailed in every war and battle logically and rationally impossible to survive. It is this faith that our enemies failed to account for. Against this faith, their drones, planes and missiles are powerless. For them, our faith, our right to exist are perhaps foolishness. But for us, it is a way of life, a way to fight, survive, prevail, restore God’s justice and peace in this world.