TUESDAY, TWENTY FOURTH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME
Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross
Num 21:4-9 or Phil 2:6-11; Ps 78:1-2,34-38; Jn 3:13-17
THE CROSS OF CHRIST IS A SIGN OF GOD’S LOVE
“This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins” (Jn 4:10). This amazing love becomes clear against the backdrop of the debt each one of us owes. At the core of God’s being is his holiness. For us to have any kind of relationship with him, we need forgiveness for our sins. However, we can do nothing by ourselves to accomplish that. God’s holiness demanded that sin be paid for, and then God’s love found a way, the Cross. The Cross proclaims God’s great everlasting love even today.
The gospel text shows a conversation between Jesus and Nicodemus. Jesus talks about an incident during the exodus journey when the Israelites were struck by a plague of snakes. Instructed by God, Moses hoisted a bronze snake on a pole as a recovery-totem. It can sound superstitious, but to depend on it was an expression of trust in God. Jesus now alludes that this snake is to be seen as a promise of salvation to be won by trusting in his cross. The cross remains our sign of victory. To wear it and welcome it is a statement of where our heart and our confidence lies. To us Christians, it contains also the victory and the reassurance of the Resurrection.
St Paul says tells us: “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved, it is the power of God.” (1 Cor 1:18). The cross makes sense not by the crumpled figure nailed to its wood, but by God’s acceptance of that obedience. St Andrew of Crete brings out the indispensability of the cross in these words: “If there had been no cross, Christ would not have been crucified. If he had not been nailed, the streams of everlasting life would not have welled from his side, blood, and water, the cleansing of the world; the record of our sins would not have been cancelled, we would not have gained freedom, we would not have enjoyed the tree of life, paradise would not have been opened.”
Response: Never forget the deeds of the Lord!
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