The Triumph of the Holy Cross

The Triumph of the Holy Cross


Num. 21:4-9, Phil. 2:6-11, Jn 3:13-17. "Far be it from me to glory except in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world" (Gal. 6:14). How can we glory today in the instrument of the death of Christ, that frightening Cross where thieves, slaves and criminals were executed and onto which He was nailed, led like a lamb to the slaughter? Paradoxically, Paul affirms the Christian passion for life under the sign of the Cross, which in Roman times was a cruel, inhuman instrument of execution, the most frightful form of death has become the life-giving throne of mercy on which He will forever be honoured. Today's first reading recounts the misery of the Israelites during their Exodus journey through the desert of Sinai there was a plague of fiery serpents, from whose bite many of the people died. Then God asked Moses to make a bronze statue of a serpent and mount it on a pole and when those who had been bitten looked at it, they recovered. In today's Gospel, Jesus applies this episode to Himself: “Just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life” (Jn 3:14-15).

The sign of the healing serpent is now the conventional sign for Christian doctors, in their efforts to preserve life. The Cross of Christ empowers us to share in the struggle against oppressors of every sort. We can best honour His Cross today, if like Him, we stand up for those in our times who are unjustly treated and marginalised. From the Cross, Jesus draws us into the love and life of God. Paul was aware of this when he made the famous 'emptying-out' hymn (Phil. 2:6-11), in the today’s second reading. He reminds us to “put on the mind of Christ” which is the mind of love. Authentic love is always life-giving and that is uniquely so of God’s love. The triumph of the Cross has become the triumph of love over hatred and the triumph of new Life, poured out from the Cross. The blood and water flowing from the side of Jesus on the Cross speaks to us of the life that flows through the death of Jesus. The triumph of the Cross is the triumph of God over satan and all the forces of evil and death, is a triumph in which we all share. From the Cross Jesus draws all of us into the love and life of God: "When I am lifted up from the earth I will draw all people to myself." Today, we are challenged to let ourselves be drawn by Him so that we can reign with Him forever in Heaven.

May the Lord help us to be lifted, built up and encouraged to bear our Cross patiently and bring us into all truth that we may live in His presence! Amen!! Good morning and glorious day!!

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