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Life isn't all lollipops and gumdrops for those with a Cross to bear

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Everyone eventually winds up on the Cross.

The question is, will we be a thief, or a child of God?

After all, there are only two kinds of Catholics, and two kinds of people, when all else is broken down to a common denominator. There are the have's and the have nots. There are the comfortable and the afflicted. There are the socially acceptable, and the socially rejected. There are the winners and the losers.

But in the end, after all the worldly politicking, all the prejudicial stereotyping, all the glass ceilings, and all the jockeying for position has ended--as people step on other people's heads to get ahead--there are only thieves and children of God on their crosses.

For the Cross may equal hope for the hopeless, and despair for those who think they have everything in being 'world' champions.

"Though I thought I had toiled in vain, and for nothing, uselessly, spent my strength, Yet my reward is with the LORD, my recompense is with my God." Isaiah 49:1-6

Losers, like myself, toil to find gainful employment, only to meet with repeated rejection in the form of teasing interviews. We spend our strength trying with all our might to get out of a hole we never wished ourselves into. Notwithstanding the sins we have plunged ourselves into, we are seemingly alone in seeing our talents and energy dissipated in wasted time. While others flourish in worldly affairs, and remind us of it every day, our spouse and kin jab at us like Job's accusatory friends.

Does the Lord ever hear our prayer?

"Be my rock of refuge, a stronghold to give me safety, for you are my rock and my fortress.O my God, rescue me from the hand of the wicked." Psalm 71:1-6, 15, 17

Some people just don't get it!

Unemployment, and powerlessness in this world, brings one closer to the Cross. The question is, does it bring one closer to the Crucified? Personally speaking, when people no more talented than myself do things I know I am capable of, and do them because they know someone important, or because they are prettier or the right ethnicity, color, or gender, I forget the Love of the Crucified, and dwell on the torture of the Cross.

I forget that the Crucified suffered the very same prejudices as me.

"After Judas took the morsel, Satan entered him. So Jesus said to him, 'What you are going to do, do quickly.'” John 13:21-33, 36-38

Lollipop and gumdrop Catholics see only the Resurrection.

This is reflected in a life immersed in pursuit of popular success, and popular excess. For them, the Cross is for those gloomy traditionalists. After all, lollipop and gumdrop Catholics buy their spiritual sugar in a cafeteria. And the cafeteria numbs them, and distracts them, from their cross in so many carnal and banal pleasures. As winners, they measure their life upon the caricature of the pop celebrity, or the 'powers that be.'

Meanwhile, many losers are introduced, through their rejections and sufferings, to the only Savior worth worshipping. Yet, this Savior offers no lollipops or gumdrops, but only a Cross and a chalice of Blood-drops.

Holy Week reveals the opportunity for victory for losers in this world. The question is, will we carry our splintery victory like our Crucified (and Risen) Savior?