Today, September 14, is the Feast of the Triumph of the Cross.
We see Jesus crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, that through God’s gracious will he might taste death for the sake of all men. Indeed, it was fitting that when bringing many sons to glory God, for whom and through whom all things exist, should make their leader in the work of salvation perfect through suffering. Hebrews 2:9-10
The cross was an instrument of humiliation and death. It was a torturous death, designed to prolong the agony of the condemned. It was designed to bring shame to the condemned, who was crucified naked, exposed to all, hanging before all so that he could not hide his nakedness and shame.
How is it that such an instrument became the sign of victory and salvation?
I recall when I first watched “The Passion of the Christ,” Mel Gibson’s film depicting the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus, at the moment of Christ’s death on the cross, the being who represented Satan looked up to the sky and screamed. Those with whom I watched the movie discussed if this was intended as a shout of victory by Satan, or a cry of defeat, realizing at that moment that the death of Christ that the devil so desired was, in fact, his downfall. I think that Gibson intended that.
We know, of course, that the suffering and death of Christ is our salvation. We know it is His triumph. By His stripes we are healed. By His perfect obedience, even onto death, we are reconciled to God and Christ is raised to glory. We know, too, that the suffering we endure, especially for the faith, is a share in the suffering of Christ.
We share in His sacrifice most especially when we assist at Mass. At Mass, the one sacrifice of Christ is made present so that we can participate in that sacrifice and receive the grace necessary to be faithful to Him in all things, and to offer our obedience, in union with Christ, for the sake of a fallen world.
Be Christ for all. Bring Christ to all. See Christ in all.