Today's feast is The Exaltation of the Holy Cross. Yesterday's readings were evocative of Good Friday. Isaiah prophesied about the Suffering Servant who said,
I gave my back to those who beat me,In the Psalm, we cried out,
my cheeks to those who plucked my beard;
my face I did not shield
from buffets and spitting.
The cords of death encompassed me;But the Psalmist then reminded us,
the snares of the netherworld seized upon me;
I fell into distress and sorrow.
I was brought low and He saved me. He has freed my soul from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling.In the Gospel, Christ tells us that
“Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself,Those who try to hang on to the temporary, temporal things of this world will lose them. Those who seek to live a life that has more meaning, will find more than they can possibly imagine.
take up his cross, and follow me.
For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it,
but whoever loses his life for my sake
and that of the gospel will save it.”
Christ came to the world and turned it upside down. Jesus came and turned an instrument of horrible torture and death into a means of salvation for the whole world. His literal death on the cross was also symbolic of what his mission was--to make us fully aware that the most abhorrent evil that can be experienced in this world is made uncorrupted and salvific by God through Christ's death on the cross.
The ugliness of this life is turned into eternal union with the Divine, because the One who Created this world from nothingness has come in the form of a Man, to show creation that there *is* a purpose and that pain is *not* meant to be forever.
Suffering is like the wrong side of an embroidered tapestry--confusing and ugly on the side that we can see from here--whole and beautiful when viewed from the eternal perspective of God. And, if what we are seeing from this earthly side of the tapestry is sometimes inspiring and moving, how much more will the very Face of God move us when seen for all eternity?
The message of the cross is one of Hope. Humanity was not created to suffer eternally. Christ showed us that there is a purpose to our life, that God exists and that He alone can overcome all.
We adore Thee, O Christ, and we praise Thee,because by Thy Holy Cross, Thou hast redeemed the world.
~from the Stations of the Cross