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. (Jn 3:14-15)
The cross is probably one of the most universal symbols of faith. One can see it practically everywhere. It may be plain or it may have a corpus on it. If there is a body on it, it is properly called a crucifix.
The cross was not always a universal symbol of faith. At one point in time, it was a universal symbol of hate, cruelty, punishment, and death. People were crucified on the cross for a great variety of crimes.
Hanging on the cross was specially designed to be a gruesome experience. Many people survived upon the cross for more than a day or two. Some, after a time, would have their legs broken so that they could not push themselves up to gasp air and they would end up suffocating to death.
As Jesus turned so many images upside down in his life on earth through the different parables that He spoke, He also turned the image of the cross upside down as well. At one point in time, it was a universal symbol of hatred and death. Jesus turned it into a symbol of love and life.
The cross has become an important part of our lives. Whenever we begin any prayer, we make the sign of the cross on ourselves as we remind ourselves of the Trinitarian God — in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.
Parents trace the sign of the cross upon their children in blessing. Bishops trace the sign of the cross upon the foreheads of those confirmed.
We see crosses and crucifixes and do not shy away from them. Rather, they transport us to a reflection of Christ’s love for us.
Today, we celebrate the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross. We thank our God for sending His Son to us and we praise our Lord for dying upon the cross so that He could set us free from sin and death!
FAITH ACTION: Make sure that there is at least one crucifix placed prominently in your home. When you pass by it, pray the prayer most used during the Way of the Cross: “We adore You, O Christ, and we praise You because by Your holy cross You have redeemed the world!”