THE EXALTATION OF THE HOLY CROSS.
Feast Intro, Gospel reading and commentary + Divine Office 2nd reading.
- FEAST INTRODUCTION
- GOSPEL READING: Jn 3:13–17
- SECOND READING: A discourse of St Andrew of Crete, The cross is Christ’s glory and triumph
Our Mother the Church sings of the triumph of the Holy Cross, the instrument of our salvation. In order to follow Christ, the Christian must take up his cross and become obedient with Christ, who was obedient until death, even death on the Cross. The feast of the Exaltation of the Cross sprang at Rome at the end of the seventh century. The 3rd of May was called the feast of the Invention of the Cross, and it commemorated in a special manner Saint Helena’s discovery of the sacred wood of the Cross; the 14th of September, the feast of the Exaltation of the Cross, commemorated above all the circumstances in which Heraclius recovered from the Persians the True Cross, which they had carried off.
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.
COMMENTARY FROM THE NAVARRE BIBLE, ST. JOHN (WITH PERMISSION)
- 13 This is a formal declaration of the divinity of Jesus. No one has gone up into heaven and, therefore, no one can have perfect knowledge of God’s secrets, except God himself who became man and came down from heaven — Jesus, the second Person of the Blessed Trinity, the Son of man foretold in the Old Testament (cf. Dan 7:13), to whom has been given eternal lordship over all peoples.
- The Word does not stop being God on becoming man: even when he is on earth as man, he is in heaven as God. It is only after the Resurrection and the Ascension that Jesus Christ is in heaven as man also.
- 14-15 The bronze serpent which Moses set up on a pole was established by God to cure those who had been bitten by the poisonous serpents in the desert (cf. Num 2 1:8-9). Jesus compares this with his Crucifixion, to show the value of his being raised up on the Cross: those who look on him with faith can obtain salvation. We could say that the good thief was the first to experience the saving power of Christ on the Cross: he saw the crucified Jesus, the King of Israel, the Messiah, and was immediately promised that he would be in Paradise that very day (cf. Lk 23:39-43).
- The Son of God took on our human nature to make known the hidden mystery of God’s own life (cf. Mk 4:11; Jn 1:18; 3:1-13; Eph 3:9) and to free from sin and death those who look at him with faith and love and who accept the cross of every day.
- The faith of which our Lord speaks is not just intellectual acceptance of the truths he has taught: it involves recognizing him as Son of God (cf. 1 Jn 5:1), sharing his very life (cf. Jn 1:12) and surrendering ourselves out of love and therefore becoming like him (cf. Jn 10:27; 1 Jn 3:2). But this faith is a gift of God (cf. Jn 3:3, 5-8), and we should ask him to strengthen it and increase it as the Apostles did: Lord “increase our faith!” (Lk 17:5). While faith is a supernatural, free gift, it is also a virtue, a good habit, which a person can practise and thereby develop: so the Christian, who already has the divine gift of faith, needs with the help of grace to make explicit acts of faith in order to make this virtue grow.
3. DIVINE OFFICE 2ND READING: A discourse of St Andrew of Crete, The cross is Christ’s glory and triumph
We are celebrating the feast of the cross which drove away darkness and brought in the light. As we keep this feast, we are lifted up with the crucified Christ, leaving behind us earth and sin so that we may gain the things above. So great and outstanding a possession is the cross that he who wins it has won a treasure. Rightly could I call this treasure the fairest of all fair things and the costliest, in fact as well as in name, for on it and through it and for its sake the riches of salvation that had been lost were restored to us.
Had there been no cross, Christ could not have been crucified. Had there been no cross, life itself could not have been nailed to the tree. And if life had not been nailed to it, there would be no streams of immortality pouring from Christ’s side, blood and water for the world’s cleansing. The legal bond of our sin would not be cancelled, we should not have attained our freedom, we should not have enjoyed the fruit of the tree of life and the gates of paradise would not stand open. Had there been no cross, death would not have been trodden underfoot, nor hell despoiled.
Therefore, the cross is something wonderfully great and honourable. It is great because through the cross the many noble acts of Christ found their consummation – very many indeed, for both his miracles and his sufferings were fully rewarded with victory. The cross is honourable because it is both the sign of God’s suffering and the trophy of his victory. It stands for his suffering because on it he freely suffered unto death. But it is also his trophy because it was the means by which the devil was wounded and death conquered; the barred gates of hell were smashed, and the cross became the one common salvation of the whole world.
The cross is called Christ’s glory; it is saluted as his triumph. We recognise it as the cup he longed to drink and the climax of the sufferings he endured for our sake. As to the cross being Christ’s glory, listen to his words: Now is the Son of Man glorified, and in him God is glorified, and God will glorify him at once. And again: Father, glorify me with the glory I had with you before the world came to be. And once more: “Father, glorify your name.” Then a voice came from heaven: “I have glorified it and will glorify it again.” Here he speaks of the glory that would accrue to him through the cross. And if you would understand that the cross is Christ’s triumph, hear what he himself also said: When I am lifted up, then I will draw all men to myself. Now you can see that the cross is Christ’s glory and triumph.
℟. O wonderful cross, upon whose branches hung the treasure and redemption of captive men,* through you the world is redeemed by the blood of the Lord.
℣. Hail, O cross, consecrated by the body of Christ, whose limbs, like precious jewels, adorn your wooden timbers.* Through you the world is redeemed by the blood of the Lord.
Let us pray.
O God, who willed that your Only Begotten Son should undergo the Cross to save the human race, grant, we pray, that we who have known his mystery on earth may merit the grace of his redemption in heaven. Through our Lord.
TOPIC DO YOU KNOW WHAT EXALTING THE HOLY CROSS CAN DO FOR YOU?
1st Reading Numbers 21:4b-9Responsorial Psalm Psalms 78:1bc-2, 34-35, 36-37, 382nd Reading Philippians 2:6-11Gospel John 3:13-17
Today’s first reading describes the healing of the Israelites through a bronze serpent mounted on a pole God instructed Moses to construct. In the gospel reading, Jesus cites this same incident of the Israelites in the desert to draw parallelisms to Himself, that He would die on the cross to save the world.
We continue to reflect today on our own dying to self.
SEE AS WELL:
Sept. 14 – EXALTATION OF THE HOLY CROSS. History and reflection HERE
Stay updated: subscribe by email for free TO OUR NEW WEBSITE www.catholicsstrivingforholiness.org (PUT YOUR EMAIL IN THE SUBSCRIBE WIDGET).
We are also in www.fb.com/Catholicsstrivingforholiness. Kindly help more people in their Christian life by liking our page and inviting your family, friends and relatives to do so as well. Thanks in advance and God bless you and your loved ones! Fr. Rolly Arjonillo