Triumph of the Cross

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

Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes in Him may have eternal life.
(John 3:14)

When we are in the throes of despair
Due to trials and tribulation
Just lift them up to Christ as our share
In His cross for our salvation.

“No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven—the Son of Man. Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes in Him may have eternal life. For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him.” (Luke 3:13-17)

Reflection

Today we celebrate the Feast of the Triumph of the Cross. Jesus cited the account of Moses lifting up the bronze serpent on a standard (to save the Israelite nation which had sinned against God) in order to prophesy His own death on the cross. The cross would also become the standard of salvation for future generations of Christians.

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 Saint 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)

Jesus said, “Whoever does not take up his cross and follow after me is not worthy of me.” (Mt.10:38). The cross is the most potent and universal symbol of the Christian faith. Whenever we cross ourselves, or when we kneel in prayer before the cross, let us always be reminded of 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 members of the one true Church, we have surrendered our lives to the cross of Christ, and there gained victory over death and sin. We make the sign of the cross as a constant reminder of — and witness to — 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 Christians that Your Cross is our most powerful instrument of evangelization. Inspire us all to give witness to its meaning in our faith, because in Your great sacrifice on the cross we attained our salvation. Amen.

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