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Feast of the Triumph of the Cross

September 14, 2015 by  
Filed under Feast Days, Liz Estler, The Cross

“What a great thing it is to possess the Cross!
He who possesses it possesses a treasure.”*


In the second reading for today’s Mass, we hear, in Saint Paul’s letter to the Philippians, that Christ humbled himself becoming obedient to death, death on a cross. And, because of this, God greatly exalted him (cf Philippians 2:6-11).

Jesus’ death on the cross reveals his utter humility, His obedience to the Father and His great love for both the Father and for us. Having told His disciples He would be lifted up, “just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert” (cf John 3:14-15), he was indeed lifted up on the Cross, for our sake, in the words of Isaiah, a worm and no man scorned by everyone, mocked and despised (cf Isaiah 22:7). Though he was crushed by sorrows he did not return evil for what was done to him, but rather asked His Father to forgive us, and thus returned a blessing instead.

We see that God did not send his Son into the world to condemn it, but to save it (cf John 3:16-17). By His great act of love, Christ conquered sin and death and won for us everlasting life. This, then, is the triumph of the cross, the instrument of our salvation. It is from the mercy seat of the cross that Christ reigns. From there God speaks His eloquent Word of love and truth.

The sign of the Cross is a kind of synthesis of our faith, for it tells how much God loves us; it tells us that there is a love in this world that is stronger than death, stronger than our weaknesses and sins. The power of love is stronger than the evil which threatens us.**

We are called and sent to do the same: not to condemn but to love in a way that gives life, to be generous, compassionate and merciful in extending forgiveness, to lift others up and shoulder their burdens, to clothe the naked, give food to the hungry and drink to the thirsty, to visit the sick, the infirm and imprisoned, to give sight to the blind, comfort the afflicted, and admonish sinners, to lay down our lives for our friends, to speak the truth in love and be, like Christ, a light to the nations.

Would that we had already begun to reign with Him! May we share with others that great mercy and love and generosity which our Savior has already shared with us. May this upcoming year of mercy spur us on!


*St. Andrew of Crete, Homily X on the Exaltation of the Cross, PG 97, 1020.
**Pope Benedict XVI, September 14, 2008 Homily for the Eucharistic Celebration on the Occasion of the 150th Anniversary of the Apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary at Lourdes


Art: Cristo crucificado (Christ crucified), Bartolomé Esteban Murillo, circa 1677, PD-US, Wikimedia Commons.

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About Liz Estler

Editor, Liz holds a Master of Arts in Ministry Degree (St. John's Seminary, Brighton, Massachusetts), Liturgy Certificate (Boston Archdiocese), and a BS degree in Biology and Spanish (Nebraska Wesleyan University - Lincoln). She has served as hospital chaplain associate, sacristan, translator and in other parish ministries. She was a regular columnist for a military newspaper in Europe and has been published in a professional journal. She once waded in the Trevi Fountain!

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  • Lynn Loring

    Thank you….beautiful!

    • LizEst

      You’re welcome, Lynn. To God be the glory now and forever!

  • marybernadette

    ‘By looking at Jesus and HIs Great Love for us on the Cross and by venerating that cross as we kiss it, let us kiss our ‘sharing in the ‘cross’ out of love for Him and others. May God help all of us on our journey of faith.’ Thank you Liz, beautiful reflection on the ‘Triumph of the Holy Cross.’

    • LizEst

      You’re quite welcome marybernadette. May all glory be to God, who in His great mercy, has given us this marvelous gift: The Triumph, the Exaltation of the Cross, for our salvation through His Son Jesus Christ, our Lord and Redeemer. God bless you always!

  • Edzel

    Thank you very much for your reflection.

    • LizEst

      You’re quite welcome, Edzel. The glory, of course, goes to the Lord, who has saved us and set us free. God love you!

  • Charles Fisk

    Wonderful. I will add this to our church web page with corresponding credits and links. Thank you and God Bless you.. PS this article should be in our web page by Thursday Sep 17.

    • LizEst

      Thank you, Charles. To God be the glory…and may He reward you! Would you kindly please send us the link. Thank you.

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