Posted 10/09/2020 16:09:07
Jesus said to Nicodemus: 13‘No one has ascended into heaven except the one who descended from heaven, the Son of Man. 14And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.
16‘For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.
17‘Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.’
Holy Cross day is a day which commemorates the finding of what was thought to be the cross of Jesus in Jerusalem by Helena the mother of emperor Constantine. The festival gives us the opportunity to meditate upon the cross and what it means for us. In the gospel reading Jesus compares the lifting up of the son of man to the serpent in the wilderness. During the exodus a plague of snakes bit the Israelites and many died. Moses was commanded to create a bronze serpent, set it on a pole and lift it up. Whoever was bitten merely had to look at the snake and they would live. Jesus indicates that we too need to contemplate the cross in order to be saved from our plight.
Here then are just a few thoughts on how that might be.
As Jesus died he uttered various words known as the seven stations of the cross and these perhaps reflect our own experience and as we experience them we can contemplate the cross and know that Christ is with us.
As they nailed him to the cross Jesus said “Father forgive them they know not what they are doing” a call for us to forgive those who hurt us. When we're feeling hurt and perhaps bear a grudge or seek revenge, by contemplating the cross we see the need to forgive.
Jesus then uttered words of hope “Today you shall be with me in paradise” he said to the dying thief beside him. When we are sunk in despair and see no way out the cross reminds us of the hope that Jesus offers.
“Woman behold your son” he said from the cross as he commended her into the care of his disciple, concern and compassion for others in need and pain.
“My God my God why have you forsaken” me we all perhaps experience times of utter desolation and despair and in our darkest hours we can know that Christ too has been there but through it comes the light of hope and faith.
“I thirst” he said and they offered him vinegar to drink, a recognition of human frailty - we can't do it all on our own we need help, we sometimes don't have the strength to do what we might wish.
“It is finished” recognition of a job done, a work complete perhaps even a sense of satisfaction and finally
“Father into your hands I commend my spirit” words of trust words of hope.
As we contemplate the cross of Christ all these images are offered to us, whatever experience we are undergoing we can look at the cross I know that Christ is with us and find the strength to carry on or be challenged to offer help to others in their pain and need.