This weekend we prepare ourselves for the celebration of the feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross. Our first reading is taken from Paul’s Letter to the Galatians wherein he asserts that the Cross is the true boast of all true followers of Jesus Christ. In fact he states: “May I never boast of anything by the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. Through it, the world has been crucified to me and I to the world.”
Hopefully we, who call ourselves Christian might say the same thing as Paul. The Cross of Christ is truly the symbol of those who willingly embrace the real and true challenges of life in the same way that Jesus did.
While Christians embrace, as the ultimate symbol of the Christian life, the Resurrection of Christ, the resurrection is never seen out of the context of the Crucifixion. In the Crucifixion of Christ we see how we must approach life. We see that the challenges of life have a meaning. They are the means that life is providing us to grow in the likeness of God, as seen in the Person of Jesus.
Our second reading, which is taken from John’s Gospel, stresses the fact that the Crucifixion of Christ symbolizes a “way of living.” The Crucifixion of Christ presents us with a “way of living” which embraces all of the challenges of life as opportunities for spiritual growth. Jesus showed us that when we can finally see that the challenges of life present true and real opportunities for spiritual growth, we begin to see that the meaning and true purpose of life is to spiritually grow – to lean how to accept life as it is presented to us.
The Cross was the true opportunity of Jesus to tell us that if we embrace life’s challenges with an open mind and heart and refuse to allow the challenges of life to distract us from being people who TRUST IN GOD and who are willing to FORGIVE OTHERS, then we spiritually grow (these are the themes that have been presented to us during the past several weeks in our readings).
Again this requires that we begin to understand the true meaning and purpose of life. God created us and gave us a free will. The purpose of life is to grow in the likeness of Jesus, which will allow us to truly become children of God and allow us to understand why we were created.