Pointing at the bulletin letter's date (link) at left will display it's title.
September 14, 2008
The Cross of Hope
This weekend the church celebrates the feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross. At first the two ideas appear to be polarized. How can an object of death and torture be an object for exaltation? The notion of exaltation is a valid Christian concept but why?
Many Christians identify with the symbol of the Cross so much so that the jewelry industry has made it a point to cash in on this important symbol. Thousands, if not millions of Christians wear crosses around their necks. Many Christian families have crosses hanging in their homes and of course, all Christian churches have a cross in their sanctuaries is not on their belfry. The cross has become a symbol not only of our identity but also of Hope for all Christians.. We are proud of it and with good reason.
The cross has not always been such a symbol however. At the height of the Roman Empire the cross was used as one of the cruelest punishments for non Roman citizens. It was not only a form of torture but it was humiliating, i.e. a symbol of shame. No one wanted to be associated with such a death. It was often reserved for the worst criminals, political rebels or slaves. Hence, Peter’s reaction to Jesus’ prophecy of his passion and death was “God forbid, Lord! No such thing shall ever happen to you!” Peter was referring to much more than death. He just couldn’t imagine Jesus having to be humiliated to such a degree.
Today, we know that the cross is much, much more that an instrument of torture and a symbol of shame. Because of the cross Jesus was raised to New Life. And, after the Ascension Jesus name was exalted above every other name. Through the Cross Jesus brought Hope to humanity.
Our Hope is not purely symbolic however. All of us have the Hope that we can be raised to New Life here on earth and forever in the Life to come. What we must realize is that we must follow in the footsteps of Jesus throughout our lives. We too must take up our cross if we are to be raised anew. This is not fun and it is not easy. It involves courage and determination but most of all it involves a deep and sincere commitment through Love.
How can we justify a life centered on ourselves, our personal agenda, our desires and goals and simultaneously believe that we are following the way of the cross, a road that was strewn with sacrifice and love for God’s people? Is it possible to believe in the way of the cross and to live selfishly. Let’s take some time to reflect on this area of our lives this week.
Lorette P. Nault