Sunday, May 19, 2019

A homily for a new priest's first Mass (Sunday homily)

When a mother gives birth to a child, everyone celebrates. 
Today we and all the Archdiocese are celebrating, 
because Mother Church has given birth to nine new priests, 
including of course, Father Zach Cecil, a son of St. Mary Parish.

But what precisely are we celebrating? 

Certainly this is a great personal accomplishment 
for Father Cecil and his classmates. 
It has been a long slog of study and practice and prayer.
Along the way there are moments of doubt and darkness, 
but also consolation and conviction. 
This is what happens when Jesus says, “follow me,” and you go!

As much as I am tempted to talk about Father Zach, 
who I’ve known since he was a boy, 
and he himself told me then he was going to be a priest, 
this is only somewhat about him.
He will say, just as our beloved Father Caserta always said: 
It is all about the Lord.

The Gospel we just heard is a good starting point.
It begins on a dark note: Judas has just left the room!
We know where he’s going. 
We know what’s about to happen, only a few hours later.
But what does Jesus talk about? How terrible and sad everything is?
No. He says, Now is the time of glory!

There are lots of discordant notes in our time.
If you want to write a story about all that’s wrong with our society, 
and with our Church, you can do that very easily.

And yet as his friend turns traitor, Jesus almost seems buoyant: 
God’s going to act now, he says; and it’s going to happen “at once.” 

This darkness is the moment of Christ’s great victory, and of ours! 
This is when all hope and life is about to be born!

So in light of that, I say to you, Father, 
what a priest recently said in the National Catholic Register: 
“There is no better time to be a Catholic priest.”

This ties in with the first reading, where we see Paul and Barnabas
actually ordain men as priests to serve the local churches, 
But as Paul does so, he warns them about hardships to come.

Back to my question: what are we celebrating? 
It is that the glory of Christ is made manifest: here, in our midst!
That’s what Easter is. That’s what the sacraments are. 
And that’s what this sacrament of Holy Orders is all about.

Jesus gives an invitation. Each of us hears it in a particular way.
For some, it is to be, as he told Peter, “fishers of men.”
To be, as Paul described many times, fathers of spiritual children.

Every once in a while you can hear some grouch complaining, 
“why does he get to be a priest but not me?”

But the true perspective is seen in the joy we feel 
when first a man enters the seminary, 
and even more, when he returns to us as a priest.

The reason for that joy is obvious: 
most realize that while this call to Holy Orders indeed is a privilege – 
and certainly every priest knows it deep in his bones, 
because he knows how very unworthy he is! –
Nevertheless, the priesthood is fundamentally a gift:
Maybe 1% to the man himself; 99% to everyone else.

The other day I heard someone say that in marriage and family life,
you experience both the lowest lows and the highest highs.
You give yourself, and lose yourself in another, 
and from that gift comes the miracle of new life, 
with every possible heartache and exaltation. 

No parent would wish his or her hardships on anyone else; 
but neither would they wish away the gift of their family.

Here’s the thing: all this is likewise true of the priesthood:
The lowest lows and highest highs. 
The moment of the Cross is the moment of glory.
This just points out something many don’t realize:
The priesthood is, in many ways, a mirror of marriage.

Holy, happy, Christ-centered families give us healthy, holy priests; 
and in turn, it is faithful, courageous priests who strengthen us 
as husbands and wives, fathers and mothers.

Let me close by saying something to you, Father, priest-to-priest, 
which I know you will believe; but it may take time fully to understand.

Father, you promised the Archbishop you would obey him; 
and to teach Christ’s word faithfully, 
and to celebrate the sacred mysteries with zeal and devotion.
You will teach and explain the Faith with conviction;
You will get up early and stay up late to comfort the grieving 
and fortify those who are weary and lost.
You will baptize, absolve, and be a companion in joy and sorrow.

But at the center is the Holy Mass.
Whether before hundreds of family and friends, 
or seemingly all by yourself, 
you stand at the altar and you hear Jesus say,
“This is My Body, given for you.”
And you will be shocked that it is your own voice saying it.
You can’t stand apart from it. It is Jesus, all Jesus, all the time.
And yet, in an impossible mystery, it is also you.

Day by day, year by year, laying yourself on the altar.
“No greater love,” Jesus said. This is what his priests do.
This is how they love the people he gives his priests to care for.

Sunday, May 12, 2019

The Anointing brings Christ into our suffering, and our suffering into Christ (Sunday homily)

As you may know, I decided during Easter Season to focus, 
each Sunday, on one of the seven sacraments. 
This week we’re going to talk about the anointing of the sick.

But why even talk about the sacraments? 
Because Easter and the Resurrection 
are all about the explosion of God’s life in our world. 
When a dead body comes to life and people see it, 
that changes everything, wouldn’t you agree?

What Easter is about, is also what the sacraments are about:
God’s life, poured into our lives, so we can become like God.
Another word for this is grace. The power of God. The life of God.

What did Jesus say in the Gospel?
“I give [my sheep] eternal life, and they shall never perish”!
That is what the sacraments do: they are sure and certain 
means of receiving this grace, this eternal, imperishable life.

What’s more, it’s also useful simply to explain each of the sacraments.
Lots of people have questions, but they don’t always dare to ask.

So let’s focus in on the anointing of the sick.
One of the ways this is misunderstood is that people think 
you only call the priest to be anointed 
when you’re one breath from death.

More accurate is to say it is for all those who are in “danger of death,” 
which is not the same thing. 

For example, lots of people have cancer or heart conditions 
or other situations that can be dangerous, 
but that doesn’t mean they’re going to die at any moment.
And there are certainly operations and surgeries 
where there is a real danger – and yet people still survive.

The Church specifically says that simply the frailty of age 
justifies receiving the sacrament of anointing.

You can receive the anointing more than once: 
if things don’t get better, and especially if they get worse.

Children, even, can receive the anointing, 
since they too face dangerous situations, 
although we dread even think about it.

That said, before a child can be given the anointing, 
he or she must be baptized and confirmed. 
Not many people know that a child, even an infant, 
can be confirmed in an emergency. I have done it several times.

So if someone wants to be anointed, what do you do?
Simply put, call the priest! 
My telephone and email address are in the bulletin. 
I am very happy to anoint people whenever they ask.
Many times I do this after a weekday or a weekend Mass, 
but planning ahead is better than waiting till the last minute.

If possible, go to confession first, then be anointed.
Obviously, I can do both for you at the same time, 
but also obviously, when I’m in the confessional, 
that’s not a good time to ask for the anointing.

Nobody likes getting a call like this at 3 am, 
but if you call me at that or any hour, I will answer the phone. 
Just call XXX-XXXX*, and if it’s after hours, 
hit “1” on the phone system; that is for emergencies. 
And if I’m out and about, a message will go to my cell phone. 

Any hospital will know how to get a hold of a priest. 
But it won’t happen automatically; you have to ask, 
and sometimes, you have to insist.

If all the sacraments give grace, then why have seven of them?
The answer is that the sacraments were designed by Christ; 
tailored, if you will, to suit our particular needs at various points in life.

So when we talk about the grace of God – 
the supernatural life of God – in one sense, it’s all the same thing. 
One God, one life, one destiny, which is resurrection for ourselves, 
and the fullness of life in the new heavens and the new earth.

All the same, you and I live in time. 
We’re born, we grow up, we consider our path in life;
maybe we get married. We need help along the way.
Jesus gives us seven sacraments as helps at all these moments of life.
 
And at a certain point in everyone’s life, 
we face suffering and illness 
and the fear and doubts that go with them.
Our Lord wants us to know that he doesn’t forget us 
in these times of weakness or darkness or humiliation.
He is not ashamed to be with us at our worst moments.

(Here I inserted some comments about the trials of illness and suffering, and pointed out that our world says to those who suffer, "just die," Christ comes to be with us in our trials, showing us his wounds. We understand Christ in a unique way in times of illness.)

This anointing is called a “sacrament of healing.”
It absolutely brings healing, 
which sometimes includes physical recovery.
I have seen it happen, and so have other priests.
But the main healing is a closeness with Christ, 
Which brings courage and peace, even in the midst of turmoil,
such as Paul and Barnabas showed in the first reading.

Notice what the Apostle John was told in the second reading:
“These are the ones who have survived the time of great distress.”
Jesus knows the ordeals, physical and emotional, 
that we face with illness and surgeries and declining health.

To stand before his throne, no more tears, no more fear.
That is our future.
And the sacrament of anointing – really, all the sacraments – 
exist to give us a foretaste of that hope right here, right now.

* I decided the whole world doesn't need me making it easy to call me at night.

Sunday, May 05, 2019

Feeding us himself is the most important thing to Jesus (Sunday homily)

If you look at the Gospels, 
Jesus spent a lot of time eating with people and feeding them.
Did you ever wonder why that is?

To invite someone to a meal, and to accept that invitation, 
are powerful signs of welcome and friendship. 
To prepare a meal for another person is an act of love.

So the reason there’s so much eating in the Gospels?
Because Jesus wants us to know: he likes being with us!
He wants to feed us! He loves us.

So notice what Jesus put at the center of the life of the Church:
The Holy Mass, where he gives us, 
not just ordinary food, but his own, precious, Body and Blood! 
The best of food! The best of meals!

When we have family members and friends 
who belong to other Christian denominations, 
who have beliefs and practices that are similar in some ways, 
it’s easy to overlook some really important aspects.

For most other Christians, Holy Communion 
is only a sign that points to Jesus’ presence. 
They believe that the bread and wine never change into anything; 
they remain bread and wine.

And, to be very blunt, many Catholics erroneously believe this too.
Sometimes people say, well, it looks like bread, it tastes like wine,
So that’s all it is, and I don’t believe all this stuff about a miracle.
But then, there were people who met Jesus, and said,
He looks like he’s only a human being, 
So I don’t believe he’s also the Lord our God!

People don’t ever say these things to me, but if they did, 
here’s what I would want to say back to them:

Do you believe that you need to be saved?  
Do you need God to rescue you from what sin does?
To forgive your sins and change you, 
to keep you from hell and bring you to heaven? 

Some people, if they were very candid, would admit:
No, I don’t need God to do those things. I’m doing just fine.

And if that’s what you believe, then Jesus makes no sense.
Baptism, confession, all the sacraments make no sense.
Above all, the Mass and the Eucharist just aren’t very important.
So bread, wine, body, blood, whatever? Who cares?

On the other hand, if you look in your heart, and see:
I’m not just fine on my own. I do wrong things, 
And if it weren’t for God helping me, I’d end up in a terrible place!

Then it makes all the difference whether Jesus gives you a cracker, 
or he gives you his own Body, his own Blood! 
His own divinity and soul and self!

If you believe this, if you believe Jesus meant it when he said, 
“This is my Body…this is my Blood,” 
and if you believe Jesus makes that happen at Holy Mass –
and I do believe this, and this precisely what we believe as Catholics – 
then isn’t it obvious why we come Sunday after Sunday?

I have a pill I take every day; it’s supposed to keep my arteries clear 
and help me avoid having a heart attack. So I take my pill.

Jesus says, “Eat my flesh and drink my blood.” That’s what he said,
over and over in the sixth chapter of the Gospel of John.
“Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood,” Jesus said,
“has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day.”

So why wouldn’t all Catholics want to have this Food, this Life, 
as often as they could?

Today, we have our second graders making their first communion. 
I’ve watched you grow up from babies, and so many of you, 
when you walk up front with your parents, 
I can see how much you have been looking forward to this day. 
So have your parents, and so have I!

But I want to repeat what I said to you on “Jesus Day”:
It isn’t your first communion that matters the most, 
but our last communion, and all that come between.

That repetition is critical. Parents, you know this is true! 
You remind your kids over and over to say “please” and “thank you.”
It drives you crazy, but you know that if you don’t, 
the habit will never take root.

Sad to say, this happens with the Eucharist.  
Lots of people make a first communion, but they drift away, 
they forget about Jesus, and maybe they never come back!

So, you keep coming. Stay close to Jesus through prayer 
and especially in the sacrament of confession.
And keep coming to Mass and keep receiving Jesus’ Body and Blood.
He so wants to feed us. It’s the most important thing to him.

In which case, let’s pray for each other: 
parents, pray for your children; kids, pray for your parents,
that what is the most important thing to Jesus, 
will be the most important thing to you, to me, to every one of us.

Sunday, April 28, 2019

'Look how much I want you as my own' (Divine Mercy Sunday)

The Incredulity of Thomas by Michelangelo Caravaggio

Everything in the readings and prayers of this Mass is about mercy, 
which is a big reason why Pope St. John Paul II 
declared this to be Divine Mercy Sunday.

Above all, this is the Sunday when we hear Jesus 
instituting the sacrament of confession, 
which is the great sacrament of Divine Mercy.

A scholar named John Bergsma, who I’ve referred to before, 
made a couple of points worth sharing. 

First: the psalm we sang refers to God’s mercy enduring forever. 
He explains that as good as mercy is, that word isn’t strong enough. 
The Hebrew word, hesed, “is best translated ‘covenant fidelity’ 
or ‘covenant faithfulness’….” In other words, God sticks with us. 

God won’t turn against us, even though we so often turn against him. 
And the proof of that is the Cross. 
The proof of that is the wounds he so readily shows to the Apostles, 
and even to Thomas, who doubted.

Dr. Bergsma points out something else from the second reading.
Jesus is dressed like the “priests who served in the Temple,” 
who “offered sacrifice on behalf of worshipers, 
so that their sins could be forgiven”; 
and they “were empowered to bless people with the Name of God.”

Think about that when you recall what happens in confession. 
When the priest gives absolution, what does he say? 
“In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit”! 
We are forgiven of sins, in the Name of God!

Last Sunday, Easter Sunday, I said a lot about baptism. 
You and I renewed our baptism. 
And during the Eucharistic Prayer, for this first week of Easter, 
We add the following words; you’ll hear them in a few minutes:

“Accept this oblation…for those to whom you have been pleased 
to give the new birth of water and the Holy Spirit, 
granting them forgiveness of all their sins.”

Let me repeat that: forgiveness of all their sins!

Now, that is what happens in baptism; 
how does that connect to confession?

Baptism is the sacrament of new birth, new life, in Jesus.
Confession is the sacrament of restoring that new birth.

Think of it this way. 
If you’re God, and you know all about human weakness,
You know that human beings are going to stumble, again and again.
So you know that even after baptism, people are going to fail;
So what do you do? Do you really say, “one and done”?

Or do you say, 
I want you to keep coming back to the fountain of mercy?
Do you give a way to get clean again?

Parents know their kids get dirty. 
Are you telling me God doesn’t know this – or doesn’t have a plan for it?

This is a toothbrush. Why am I holding up a toothbrush?

The sacrament of confession is a lot like a toothbrush.
You actually have to use it for it to do you any good.
Parents, don’t tell me you haven’t seen this. 
Your kid takes the toothbrush, 
and kind of waves it in front of his face for a few seconds.
“OK, I’m finished!”

No, you have to get in there and do some work.
Maybe use some floss too. It’s not pleasant, but it gets the crud out.
And that’s the way it works with the sacrament of confession.

Don’t get me wrong: it’s possible to overdo it, 
both with the toothbrush and with this sacrament. 
And that is not what I’m recommending.
I’m sure some people rub their gums raw, 
And I know some people get all knotted up in guilt and anxiety.

St. Thomas Aquinas said it best: “virtue stands in the middle.”
The middle-ground is where we actually go to confession frequently,
And dig in a bit to look for those habits and things we love too much.

I am always struck when movies and TV shows 
depict heaven as pretty much like life on earth;
that we’re pretty much the same people there, as here.
And my response is, are you kidding me?
Spending eternity being just as I am? And everyone else the same?
That’s not heaven – that’s hell!

So as awesome as forgiveness is, 
what’s even more important is conversion. 
The goal is to be different people. To be healed, to be made whole.
The hard part is that this is a lifetime project.
But that is what teaches us true humility.

When Jesus shows his wounds to Thomas, he’s showing them to you. 
He’s saying: Look how much I wanted you as my own!
Remember that, he says, whenever you wonder, if I will forgive you.

See what I was willing to endure because I want you.

Sunday, April 21, 2019

God always gets the last word (Easter homily)

Six weeks ago we began Lent. 
And about an hour ago, we began the story of Creation, and – 
more importantly, the redemption of the human race.
So many stories of what God has done!
Why are these stories, and these words, the ones we recall tonight?

We heard God create a perfect world.
But we know that humanity sinned and defaced that beauty. 
Above all, the beauty and glory of what it means to be human.
And we heard about God’s call to Abraham, 
And his deliverance of slaves from Egypt.

Along the way, we heard about human failing coming back to the fore.
God’s People, brought into freedom, go back into slavery and exile.

But the main thing we heard – and this is what it’s all about – is this:
God gets the last word!

God had the first word: “Let there be light.”
And after all the human words, such as, “I will not obey,” or, 
“It’s too late for me!” God’s last word is:
“He is not here, he is risen from the dead! Alleluia!”

All this past week, I’ve been hearing confessions.
And as you probably know, many times we come to confession, 
and especially if it’s been a long time, 
or we have so much on our conscience, we can find ourselves wondering, 
How can God forgive? How can he love me that much?

The Cross, is his “I love you” written in the precious blood of the Lamb.
The empty tomb is his underlining and exclamation point that says, 
“And I really mean it, and I can do it!”

And in the sacraments – in baptism, in confirmation, 
in the Holy Eucharist, in confession, in the anointing of the sick, 
and in the sacraments that empower our vocation, 
either for marriage or for holy orders, 
God says, “I am with you always, until the end of the age!”

Why are you here? Why are you here?

Well, you might say, I’m here every week. 
Or, you might say, well, it’s Easter, so I thought I’d come. 
Or, my grandmother made me come!

But there is another reason. God is speaking to you.
Sometimes his voice sounds a lot like your grandmother!
God brought you here for a reason, I can only guess at it.
But maybe it is to tell you that your life, as good as it is, is his gift.
And if it’s not so good, it can be better.
But if Christ isn’t part of it, there’s a big hole that nothing can fill.

Last week, as we all know, the great cathedral of Notre Dame 
caught fire, and for several hours, 
it looked as though it would be completely destroyed.

Something amazing happened.
All this happened in France. You may not realize it, 
but France is a militantly secular country, 
and only a few people go to Mass.
And yet the whole country of France held its breath and, 
I bet some of those unbelievers even prayed!

Why? Because it’s an old and beautiful building? 
That’s part of it, but it isn’t the whole story.

I think folks saw something they’d taken for granted, 
because it was always there, 
and then, suddenly, they realized how fragile it was; 
and if they weren’t careful, they could lose it.

And that something isn’t just a church, 
but what inhabits that church: and that is Faith.
The whole world watched and wondered,
And I think a lot of people heard something in their heart:
That was God saying, I’m still here, I’m here for you.
And maybe you heard that in your heart this week, too?

So to return to my main theme: God gets the last word.
Oh, we argue with him; we try to talk over him, 
and we do a lot of things to drown out the voice of conscience.

Yet God keeps speaking, keeps inviting: will you come to me?
Will you let me forgive you? 
Will you receive the gift of the Holy Spirit in your life? 
Will you live a new life, shaped not by the world’s standards, 
but by the word and example and life and power of Jesus Christ?

Will you let me accompany you, day by day?
Will you walk with me, not only the way of the Cross,
But all the way to heaven?

Tonight, a member of our community, 
a second-grade girl named M____, has heard God call her, 
and she is answering his invitation.

Tonight, she will be baptized, she will be confirmed, and she will, 
beginning tonight, share in the Body and Blood of Jesus.

I don’t know if you realize it, but of all the sacraments, 
baptism is the one that Easter is about most of all.
Easter is Jesus’ rising from the dead.
Easter is an empty grave – and when it comes right down to it, 
either that really happened, or it didn’t.

If he didn’t really rise from the dead, then this is all a waste of time.
But if he did – and I’m here to tell you he did! 
And if so, then that’s power, power for you and for me!
That’s what baptism is: claiming that resurrection power!

Here’s something else baptism is.
God is, in a sense, having the first word – 
because in baptism, we are spoken into life by God.
In baptism you and I are born a new person.
Born into God’s Family. Born as citizens of heaven.
Born of the Holy Spirit!

But even in this sacrament of baptism, 
there is a sense in which God gets the last word, too. 
I’ve seen it, in my own life, and I’ve seen it in others.

The grace and power of our baptism is always there, 
and I’ve seen people who, at the end of their lives – 
and maybe they put God on the back burner for a long time – 
yet what happened in them so long before is still with them, 
when God claimed them, changed them, 
and made them his own, and they remember.

That’s not a guarantee. People can turn away forever, and they do.
Nevertheless, there is a power in baptism, 
because God is speaking, and God is acting.

So, in a moment, M____ will be baptized and confirmed.
She’s heard God speak and she wants what God has for her!

Then, a moment after that, you and I have the opportunity 
to follow her good example, and claim again what is already ours.
We’ll renew our own baptism. You and I will remember who we are.
Who spoke to us once, and again, and is speaking to us now.

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Christian Passover (Holy Thursday homily)

It’s important to peel back the centuries of our own tradition 
to reveal what lies at the root of what we do tonight.

The first reading describes the Passover, 
celebrated by the Jewish People. 
It speaks of the “the fourteenth day of the month” – 
that is, fourteen days after a new moon, which means, a full moon. 
Did you see what is overhead? A full moon.

The lamb was one year old and “without blemish”; 
and notice, the lamb was obtained several days before, 
and lived with the family until the day of sacrifice? 
Why is this important? 
Because it symbolized the lamb being part of the household. 

Then, with the whole assembly present, the lamb was slaughtered. 
Elsewhere in Scripture, it makes clear, not a bone is to be broken.

The blood of the lamb is then spread over the doorposts, 
to symbolize protection from divine judgment. 
Scripture scholar Brant Pitre – 
whose work I am drawing on for these details – 
points out that when the blood was spread on the doorposts, 
it would stain the wood, providing a permanent sign.

And then, finally, the flesh of the lamb was eaten. 
This completed the sacrifice.

At the same meal, there were “bitter herbs” recalling slavery in Egypt, 
and unleavened bread and wine.

On Sunday, we recalled how Jesus entered Jerusalem, 
along with probably a million other faithful to keep the Passover. 
The ancient Jewish historian, Josephus, 
says there may have been as many as two million. 
With such numbers, that means quite a lot of lambs were sacrificed: 
perhaps two hundred thousand or more. 

History records that 
all the thousands of priests of Israel were present, 
and they had a well-practiced system of doing this. 
Without being too graphic, just stop and realize: 
there would have been a lot of blood. 
It would have been powerfully present.

Now, I want to compare all that with what happened 
when Jesus gathered with his apostles. 
In all that Jesus said and did at the supper, 
he never mentions the lamb. 
Instead, he takes the bread, and says, 
“this is my body, given up for you.” 

If you were listening closely to the Passion of Luke on Sunday, 
you heard mention of Jesus taking a cup of wine not once, but twice. 
In fact, in the Passover meal, there were four cups of wine shared.

The first cup that was prepared: I say, “prepared,” 
because it was mixed with water. Does that ring a bell? 
Watch what I do at the altar in a few minutes. 
This was called the “cup of sanctification,” 
and the father began the meal with a prayer, over this cup, 
and the food is brought to the table.

The second was the cup of “proclamation” – it was prepared, 
but not drunk right away; because then the account 
of what God did for his people in Egypt, in the exodus, was recounted, 
and the father would explain the meaning of what they did. 
And isn’t that what I’m doing now?

After this, the meal would be eaten. 
And then when the meal was finished, the father would share the “cup of blessing.” 
Then those present would sing several psalms, 
and then the Passover was concluded with the fourth cup, 
called the “cup of praise,” and it completed the sacrificial meal.

If you noticed what Paul just told us, 
Jesus took the cup “after supper” – 
meaning, this was the third cup. 
Which raises a question that scholars wrestle with:  
what about the fourth and final cup?

Well, if you are here tomorrow, Good Friday, 
you will hear these words in the Passion we will all read together:

After this, aware that everything was now finished, in order that the Scripture might be fulfilled, Jesus said, “I thirst.” There was a vessel filled with common wine.
So they put a sponge soaked in wine on a sprig of hyssop and put it up to his mouth.
When Jesus had taken the wine, he said, “It is finished.”
And bowing his head, he handed over the spirit.

I want you to notice that tonight, we will not finish this Mass. 
There will be no final blessing. 
We will go on a procession – recalling Jesus and the Apostles leaving the Upper Room, 
and going to the Garden of Gethsemane. 
In turns, we will keep watch with the Lord all night. 
Tomorrow, we will recall how the Lamb of God was slain.

Oh, I meant to give you one more detail. 
In Jesus’ time, when the lamb was prepared for the meal, 
in order to roast it, do you know how they did it? 
They took two skewers, made of wood. 
One was speared through the torso, from head to tail. 
The other was speared through both shoulders. A cross.

Tomorrow we will worship the Cross on which our Savior, 
our Lamb of God, was slain. This is our Passover. It begins tonight.