THE EXALTATION OF THE CROSS (Feast) Red
First Reading: Num 21:4b-9; Psalm: 78. R. v. 7b; Second Reading: Phil 2:6-11; Gospel: Jn 3:13-17
THE GLORY OF THE CROSS
BY FR VALENTINE NNAMDI EGBUONU, MSP
The story of Jesus culminated in his death on the cross. In the secular view, that was the end of him, his gospel story, and his popularity. In fact, the manner of his death was so shameful that it becomes best to keep quiet about it than to remember or discuss it. This was because the cross was customarily a platform for the execution of criminals. But a new story was written at the death of Jesus. His executioners buried him. Some of them got converted and numerous people came to believe in him. If Jesus hadn’t died and resurrected, all these good news wouldn’t have happened.
So Jesus’ exaltation on the cross was our exaltation from sin to holiness, pain to joy, and from injury to healing. We read in the first reading how the rebellious Israelites received healing from snake bites when they looked at the bronze serpent raised up by Moses in the wilderness. The bronze serpent foreshadowed the death of Christ on the cross that will bring healing to the rebellious world disfigured by sin. So Christ’s death on the cross was in reality not a thing of shame but something of joy to be celebrated.
The story of the cross leaves some footprints in our hearts to always remember that undergoing any painful experience for the sake of being good will always have a joyful reward as the final goal. As Christians, the pain of sickness, joblessness, and several hardships may come our way, but we can receive courage and healing in the cross of Christ. If we remain steadfast, God will lift us out of all these trials. Let the cross of Christ always remind us of the sweet end to bitter stories and on how God can turn what the world considers unfavourable to become favourable. God’s plan for us demands patience. If we are faithful to God, we should also trust in our sufferings.
PRAYER FOR THE DAY
Lord Jesus, may we learn patience, trust and hope from your suffering cross. Amen.
Uche Edah Philip