The Victory of the Cross

John 3: 13-17
Num 21:4b-9 / Psa 78

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.

Jesus said, “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 wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes may have eternal life in Him. 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.” (John 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 (Num.21:4-9) — to save the Israelite nation who had sinned against God– in order to prophesy His own death on the cross, which would also become the standard of salvation for future generations of Christians. The sign of the cross is both a blessing and a reminder of our redemption.

This veneration of the Cross traces its origin in the fourth century, which, according to early tradition, 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 Triumph 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) The cross is the symbol of God’s great love for man.

“Whoever does not take up his cross and follow after me is not worthy of me.” (Mt.10:38). The cross is the universal symbol of the Christian faith. I liked the ready answer that our candidate for the Miss Universe pageant gave when asked how she would choose if the man she would marry asked her give up her faith for his love. She said if faced with the choice she would never give up her faith because God comes first, “He created me”, and besides “if the man really loves me, he would never force me to give up my faith.” Touché!

As members of the one true church, we have surrendered our lives to the cross of Christ, and therein gained victory over death and sin. We can never compromise our victory by 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 Your leaders 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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