In the past few months, we have all seen gradual changes in the progress of improvements made to the interior of St. Thomas the Apostle Church. Perhaps the most noticeable is the crucifix that is now displayed behind the main altar in place of the Resurrected Christ.
Why the crucifix? In reference to the ornamentation of the main body of a church, the General Instruction of the Roman Missal, the official document of the Roman Catholic Church, requires, “There is to be a cross with the figure of Christ crucified on it, either on the altar or near it, where it is clearly visible to the assembled congregation.” From centuries past until the present day, the crucifix, in Catholic churches throughout the Christian world, has assumed a place of great honor and respect and has been predominantly displayed as a very vivid reminder of the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ.
The Celebration of the Eucharist is commonly referred to as The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. The crucifix symbolizes the epitome of love and sacrifice. “Greater love has no man that he lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13). Jesus’ death on the cross is the ultimate sacrifice of love that reconciles us to God and one another. The crucifix is a powerful symbol of God’s love and service as a witness of hope to the world of the redemption of all humankind. With the crucifix we are reminded to bear our own crosses daily and help others bear their crosses out of love for God.