The WORD in Other Words by Fr Xene Sanchez SVD (Congo, Africa)
Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross, Nm 21:4b–9, Phil 2:6–11, Jn 3:13–17
The crucifixion was adopted by the Romans to inflict capital punishment on the worst criminals. It was the most painful, most cruel, and most shameful way of dying. The CROSS was invented to pour out all HATRED, to avenge the evildoer for the terrible crime he has committed. For the Jews it was a CURSE: for the Greeks, a SCANDAL.
Jesus was the most innocent person in the world. Why did he die on the CROSS? He willed to be in solidarity with all the innocent people unjustly accused, persecuted and executed. He joined the victims of wars and all kinds of human cruelty. He suffered with those undergoing extreme pain, the sick and the dying. He too uttered the same words of so many who said, “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?” He passed through the path of death and descended into hell.
From there, Jesus passed over from DEATH to LIFE saving all those who have died. Today we celebrate the Triumph of the Cross. The CROSS has conquered HATRED and has become the most authentic proof and symbol of LOVE. The CROSS no longer is a curse but a BLESSING: instead of vengeance, PARDON. Jesus did not condemn but saved. By his holy CROSS he has redeemed the world!
In this life each of us is carrying our crosses. If we follow Jesus and live by his example of love and forgiveness, we too are assured of our own victory. Let the cross of Christ overcome the hatred in our hearts. Pronounce a blessing to the one you would want to curse. Make a sign of the cross, do everything, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.