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The Exaltation of the Holy Cross

Christ Jesus could have regarded equality with God as something to be grasped or exploited, but He chose instead to be a human slave, obedient to death on a cross.

Then God turned death into life so today we celebrate the “exaltation” of the cross. It’s a love story. In another letter St. Paul says, “I have been crucified with Christ; yet I live, no longer I, but Christ lives in me” (Gal. 2: 19-20).

-Christ lived a life of love, He died a death of love, and He rose to a life of eternal love at God’s right hand. What does this mean for us? If Christ lives in us, then our life is a love story because we commit ourselves to “be crucified with Christ,” allowing His life of love to traverse through us into the world we inhabit.

-To live so that we no longer live but Christ lives in us sounds outlandish. Yet St. Paul says that, in faith, the grace of Christ makes it possible. Grace is life, love, power, joy, faith, and high hope.

-Every crucifix reminds us of horrendous torture and death. Every cross reminds us that love has power to defeat everything evil and to create everything good.

-Every cross tells of life indestructible, love interminable, of joy unimaginable. Indeed, “we adore You, O Christ, and we praise You, because by Your holy cross You have redeemed the world.” Now that’s a love story we can celebrate.

-Just as Moses lifted up the bronze serpent in the wilderness and those who looked at it were healed, so also Christ was lifted up on the cross so that those who believe in Him, and deny themselves, take up their cross and follow Him may have eternal life.

-The Feast of the exaltation of the cross celebrates in its own way the central point of our Christian life that life and resurrection for any of us come through the suffering and death of Our Lord Jesus.

That, in turn, underlines that for any human being, Christian or not, the Cross of Christ depicts the daily recurring truth that it is through our sufferings and daily deaths, dying to our false self, our own will, that we rise to new life.

As we face the daily routine with its boredom and trifling irritations, serious and ongoing problems, and even terrible tragedies, we urgently need to see it all in the light of the cross and its inseparable partner in Christ, the resurrection, for as Christians, we firmly believe in the never ending resurrection.

And through our union with Christ in baptism, in faith, and the Holy Eucharist, we do have the power to make all our sufferings, our pains, and sorrows redemptive or, in more pedestrian terms, to make sense of it.

For the sufferings of this present life are not worth comparing to the glory to be revealed to us, because this slight and momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond comparison.

It has been granted to us that for the sake of Christ, we should not only believe in Him, but also to suffer for Him as well, so that we may also share in His glory and be exalted with Him in His kingdom for all eternity.

Fr. M. Alberic

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