Today’s opening prayer gave me pause to think:

“Father, you show your almighty power in your mercy and forgiveness.”

As I prayed before Mass, I found myself reflecting on this sentence.  Perhaps we’re so used to the ways of God that the strangeness of that sentence doesn’t faze us.  But in today’s world, how often do we associate mercy and forgiveness with power?  Isn’t mercy a sign of giving in, of submitting– of weakness?  Don’t powerful people punish?

Thankfully for us, God is different.  The world’s ways are not God’s ways.

I looked up and found myself looking at the large crucifix in the front of church.  Power?  Yes, those three hours on Calvary, when the Son of God hung in agony, was a moment of power.  A moment of power that is perpetuated in the liturgy, when the power comes upon bread and wine and transforms them into the flesh of God.

A violent death on a cross.  Simple bread and wine.  These are instruments of true power.