Thursday, September 14, 2006

Exaltation of the Holy Cross

(This post took forever to write)

It's been a busy week coming back after my short trips with my family. Today is also my sister's first day at work, and my attempt to bring her along to Mass worked today (Deo gratias!), under the excuse that it'd be good for her to start a new endeavor in her life by first praying and offering it up to God.

Having encountered the 'crucified Jesus' reflection recently, I recall reading about the finding of the True Cross by St Helena some years back, and more recently, about the wood of the Cross being of the same tree from which the forbidden fruit came, in the garden of Eden, and in today's homily, about how the Roman emperor Heraclius could only carry the Cross when he shed his royal vestment for simple garb.

Veneration of the Cross is a practice I encountered only when I came to Singapore; having been baptized only after a few years of my stay here. Although this veneration (and in general, adoration of relics) is not a practice considered latria, that is worship due to God alone, it took many Good Fridays and a few Feasts of the Holy Cross (and many, many people's prayers for me, I'm sure!) before I could appreciate the marvel with which the Church honors the cross. Today, an insight came to me before veneration: that this is the Cross through which Jesus surrendered His will; how He must have embraced and kissed the Cross as the instrument to deliver His total love!

In today's readings, Christ, died and lifted on the Cross, is compared to the healing serpent that Moses raised in the desert. In the Cross lies the bold mystery of salvation: of God who loves us so much that He sends His Son, who emptied Himself by dying through a instrument of torture. That same instrument of torture is Christianity's symbol of victory today. God could have sent lightning and thunderbolt to carry out justice, but no, He sacrificed His son on the cross instead... The Cross, that sweet Cross, always reminds me of His mercy.

How privileged we are to join Jesus, by emulating Him in carrying our own crosses (however slight they may be...)!

We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you because by your holy cross, you have redeemed the world.

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