The Gospel Today
Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross
Jesus said to Nicodemus:
“No one has gone up to heaven
except the one who has come down from heaven, the Son of Man.
And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert,
so must the Son of Man be lifted up,
so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.”
For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son,
so that everyone who believes in him might not perish
but might have eternal life.
For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world,
but that the world might be saved through him.
Reflection (Sem. Rodel D. Aclan)
Prior to Jesus’ crucifixion, the cross was nothing but a platform of death, the severest punishment for criminals during His time. It was both a symbol of and the means to execute the vilest criminals. It was even designed to inflict maximum pain on those judged with this sentence.
Today as we celebrate the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, I am being reminded of God’s great love for us, “For God so love the world that He gave his only son”(Jn. 3:16). Jesus showed His ultimate act of love for us by suffering and dying on the cross. By this act, He changed the meaning of the cross, from a means of suffering and death to a means of hope and salvation. We exalt the cross not for the suffering it brings but for the hope and salvation that it has brought to all mankind through our Lord Jesus Christ.
However, as the saying goes, it is easier said than done. To exalt the cross or to embrace and love it oftentimes is not easy. I remember many times in the past that in the midst of struggles I got angry and mad not only at the people around me but even at God. I asked God with an ill feeling: “Why do I have to suffer such a trial?”
God is good to me that He made me realize that the struggles and trials that I was encountering in my daily life, the sacrifices I have done and the hard decisions I have made were not just sufferings, but concrete acts of God’s love for me and my loved ones.
Ultimately for me, the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross is an invitation not to be afraid of the sufferings and struggles in life, especially in my formation. Jesus has ended the curse of the cross and made it a symbol of love and triumph.