The Exaltation of the Cross

Tuesday, 24th Week in Ordinary Time

Daily Readings: Numbers 21:4-9 Philippians 2:6-11 & John 3:13-17

Reflection Date: September 14, 2021

The Exaltation of the Cross (John 3: 13 – 17)
So must the Son of Man be lifted up (v. 14).

We celebrate the feast of the exaltation of victory of the cross. We do not celebrate the cross because it was an instrument of execution – the most painful and shameful one during the time of Jesus but because it became an instrument of life.

We do not celebrate the many other crosses in the history of the world but only the cross of Jesus Christ. We celebrate the Cross of Christ because it has brought life for us. When He was lifted up on the cross, Jesus showed us how much God loves us.

God can use even the worst evil as sin and the cross to overcome evil and death. He did that once in Jesus - crucified and risen. He continues to do it today.

Cross as a pre-requisite to following Christ. Even in our modern times, the cross remains a stumbling block, a sign of failure, shame and defeat to many, for many see it as a burden and not as a symbol of grace and nearness of God's compassionate love. Moreover, for those who believe in Jesus, it is a sign and constant reminder of the depth of God's unconditional love for them. It is also a symbol of Christ's ultimate love manifested by dying on it, a source/sign of redemption and salvation for all humankind.

Moreover, for us in our Christian life, the cross is not an option but a way of life that leads us to the fullness of life. Acceptance of the Cross is the beginning of Christian life. The voluntary acceptance and living of the way of the cross is a prerequisite to follow Christ. The cross does not end in suffering and death, but it shows us the way of forgiveness and reconciliation and leads us to resurrection, just as Jesus our Master did through His life. It is a sign of God's ultimate love expressed in sacrificing His beloved Son for our salvation.

Let us bear our crosses meaningfully well and take it up with faith, love and hope. Let us make efforts to turn our crosses into victory with the help and assistance of Christ our Lord.

Joseph Cardozo SJ | Contributor