RC priest tells congregation: No crown without a cross

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Fr Leslie Tang Kai –

THERE is no crown without a cross. This was RC priest Fr Leslie Tang Kai’s message to a packed congregation during a Good Friday service at the St Joseph RC Church, Scarborough, on March 29.

Good Friday is a Christian holiday commemorating the crucifixion of Jesus Christ on Calvary hill. It is the second feature of the Easter Triduum, which begins on Holy Thursday and ends on Glorious Saturday night with a celebration of Jesus’ resurrection.

Referring to the second reading – a letter to the Hebrews – which spoke to a hopeless, disenchanted people, Tang Kai asked, “How many of you feel fatigue, downtrodden, fed up, ah cyah take it no more, the way life is going at this time?”

He urged listeners, who included independent senator Dr Maria Dillon-Remy, to exercise courage to cope with life’s uncertainties. “Because the reality is there is no crown without a cross. No victory without persecution. And the prophet Isaiah says that in the very opening of the first reading, ‘See, my servant will prosper, he shall be lifted up, exalted, rise to great heights.”

To illustrate his point about persecution, Tang Kai also alluded to the portion of the reading which said, “As the crowds were appalled on seeing Him (Jesus), so disfigured did he look.”

He said, “Life is full of challenges. But the promise of God is great. And God is always faithful to his promise. So I say again, ‘Take courage even in the moment of challenges,’ for we heard that by his stripes we are healed. We are healed by the stripes of Jesus’ crucifixion.”

Tang Kai said people often seek comfort in superficial things when God is always the answer. “Who are you looking for? A rich man with house and land, a faithful relationship, comfort in material things, drugs, marijuana and cocaine, alcohol. Try Jesus. The answer lies in the one who gave his life for each of us. “His stripes will bring us the healing that we need. His stripes will bring us the redemption as he goes into the depths of the earth to shed the light of Christ to the darkness of humanity.”

Tang Kai said Christ is always with us. “We just have to make ourselves present to Him. He is always there. We are the ones who need to turn to Him. We are the ones who have to surrender our all to Him. “The more we look and the more we seek, we shall find. But very often, we are so caught up in the bacchanal that we fail to look for him, we fail to cry out to Him, we fail to ask him for our deepest needs.”

The priest also told the congregation that Jesus has the power to heal and transform. “So why are you afraid trust Him?”

He urged the congregation, during the veneration of the cross, to “surrender To God all that is not on the side of truth in our lives.