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Embrace the Cross

Sep 14, 2014 | [post_view] Views

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Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross

 

READINGS

First Reading:  NM 21:4B-9

Responsorial Psalm:  PS 78:1BC-2, 34-35, 36-37, 38

Second Reading: PHIL 2:6-11

Gospel: JN 3:13-17

 

Homily

When I was a seminarian I gave my mother a crucifix which she hanged on the wall of our living room at home. One day when I came home for a vacation, I noticed that the crucifix was removed. I asked my mother why. She answered that a friend came and told her that it is bad luck to hang a crucifix.  But after some explanations, my mother hanged it back.

Some people do not like to see Jesus hanging on a cross. For them it is bad luck, a curse.  And so they run away from it.  They do not want to embrace the cross of Jesus. There is some truth in this philosophy, though, since the cross during the time of Jesus was a symbol of suffering and of death. On the cross, criminals suffered a life sentence, a death penalty. First, they were made to carry that cross on which they would later die. It was indeed a curse. But when Jesus embraced His cross and was crucified on it, He transformed the meaning of the cross into a symbol of life, of forgiveness, of salvation, a symbol of love.

In our Gospel today, Jesus linked the lifting up of the Son of Man with God loving the world which results to eternal life.

“And 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.

For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son,
so that everyone who believes in him might not perish
but might have eternal life.”

The Son of Man, the Messiah was lifted up on a cross. He gave His life on the cross on Calvary. His death on a cross was His greatest act of love. In chapter 15 of St. John’s Gospel, Jesus said “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” This is what He did for us His friends. Are we not then going to embrace the cross on which our Savior died on? If we embrace the cross of Jesus, we embrace the eternal life it brings. If we embrace His cross, we embrace His love for us sinners. If we embrace the cross, we embrace God.

Instead of running away from the cross, instead of being afraid of the cross of Jesus,we embrace the cross, love the cross, be proud of the cross since with it Jesus saved us, forgave us, loved us. When we, therefore, make the sign of the cross upon ourselves with we do it with great love and devotion. Let us not be ashamed of it.

 

Image credit: moviepilot.com

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