The Triumph of His Cross

John 3: 13-17
Nm 21:4-9 / Ps 78 / Phil 2:6-11

As Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, so that whoever believes in Him may have eternal life.
(John 3:14-15)

Grant us the grace, Lord, to be aware
That our sins are Your crucifixion;
And the wisdom to accept our share
In Your cross for our own conviction.

No one has ascended into heaven but he who has descended from heaven, the Son of Man. And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, so that whoever believes in him may have eternal life. For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God sent the Son into the world, not to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him. John 3: 13-17

Reflection

This veneration of the Cross originated in the fourth century, which, according to early accounts, began when a remnant of the Cross in Calvary was miraculously discovered by St. Helen, the mother of Constantine, when she went on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem on September 14, 326. Thus, the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross has been celebrated by Christians on September 14 ever since.

We venerate the Cross of Christ because it was and still is the instrument of our salvation. Adoring the Cross might seem like idolatry to some denominations, but for most Christians, it is actually adoring Jesus Christ Himself, Who suffered and died on this Roman instrument of torture to redeem us from sin. It represents the supreme Sacrifice by which our Lord Jesus was able to accomplish for our salvation. He humbled Himself by being obedient to death, death on the cross. (Phil. 2:8)

A most disturbing idea was broached by some leaders in our community that in the spirit of ecumenism (to promote unity among all Christians), it might be prudent to do away with the images of the cross and the Blessed Virgin Mary from the altar during our breakfast fellowship. They reasoned that this would encourage attendance of Christians from other denominations, and help promote unity and harmony. These leaders seemed to have forgotten the words of our Lord Jesus: “Whoever does not take up his cross and follow after me is not worthy of me.” (Mt.10:38). They must be reminded that the cross is the most potent and universal symbol of the Christian faith. Whenever we kneel in prayer before the cross, we are confronted with this great mystery of our salvation. St. Paul said in his first letter to the Corinthians, “The language of the cross may be illogical to those who are not on the way to salvation, but those of us who are on the way see it as God’s power to save.” (1Cor. 1:18)

As the members of the one true church, we have surrendered our lives to the cross of Christ, and therein gained victory over death and sin. Are we then to compromise our victory for the sake of accommodating those who do not share our own faith? On the contrary, we must exalt the cross as a constant reminder — and witness — of Christ’s ultimate triumph, His victory over sin and death through His passion and death on the Cross. For the Church to be universal, all Christians must embrace it!

Lord, please enlighten all the leaders in our Brotherhood that Your Cross is our most powerful instrument of evangelization. Inspire them to give witness to its meaning in our faith, because in Your great sacrifice, there can never be any compromise. Amen.

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