We heard from the commentator that our celebration of the Mass today is called the “Exaltation of the Cross.”
Exaltation. A quick check from an online dictionary tells us that “it is a feeling or state of extreme happiness.” With this definition come some synonyms: elation, ecstasy, delight.
Exaltation—we don’t have a problem with this word, do we? After all, shouldn’t we all feel happy and delighted every time we celebrate the Mass?
But the next word after “exaltation” appears to be quite problematic—the Cross!
We know that the cross is where our Lord Jesus died. During the time of Jesus, the cross was the most terrifying instrument to kill the thieves, slaves and criminals.
Jesus was sentenced to death because He was considered a criminal.
We heard from the Bible stories that before He was nailed on the cross, He was ordered to carry it first. The cross was heavy. And the parade going up to that mountain, where He would be crucified was not a walk in the park!
You see, to be killed using the cross was and, still is, the most frightful form of death.
That’s why, it’s just normal to ask “what’s the point of our celebration today?” “Why should we be happy about the Cross?” “Why even have a feast dedicated for it?”
To answer these questions, let us go through the readings.
The Gospel gives us the reason why: “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.”
Jesus died on the cross because of you and me. God wanted us to be with Him in heaven. But this will not be possible because of our sins. Through the cross, Jesus gave His life freely, for all of us.
St. Paul, in his letter to the Philippians, reminds us that Christ Jesus, though He is God, chose to be lowly, and became obedient to the point of death–even death on a cross.
We don’t ask you to nail yourself on the cross. Jesus has done it for us once and for all.
You have your assignments, you have your tests. At times, you have very naughty classmates you need to face. These are your crosses. Let us not run away from them.
The cross is a reminder that God loves us so much even if we do not deserve this love.
In this celebration of the Eucharist, let us beg Jesus for the strength and courage to love others as well, even if it is not the easiest thing to do. Christ has shown the way, let us follow His example.