Exaltation of the Holy Cross

Christ on CrossSeptember 14th is the date established for a feast that recognizes the Cross as the instrument upon which our salvation was won by Jesus Christ. This feast is called in Greek Ὕψωσις τοῦ Τιμίου καὶ Ζωοποιοῦ Σταυροῦ (“Raising Aloft of the Precious and Life-Giving Cross”) and in Latin Exaltatio Sanctae Crucis. In English, the 3rd Edition of the Roman Missal restored the traditional name, the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, replacing the 1972 nomenclature of the Triumph of the Cross. When the feast day falls on a Sunday (e.g. 2014 and 2025) it replaces the Sunday celebration of Ordinary Time. Continue reading

Exaltation of the Holy Cross

Christ on CrossSeptember 14th is the date established for a feast that recognizes the Cross as the instrument upon which our salvation was won by Jesus Christ. This feast is called in Greek Ὕψωσις τοῦ Τιμίου καὶ Ζωοποιοῦ Σταυροῦ (“Raising Aloft of the Precious and Life-Giving Cross”) and in Latin Exaltatio Sanctae Crucis. In English, the 3rd Edition of the Roman Missal restored the traditional name, the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, replacing the 1972 nomenclature of the Triumph of the Cross. When the feast day falls on a Sunday (e.g. 2014 and 2025) it replaces the Sunday celebration of Ordinary Time. Continue reading

A Posture in Life

Nicodemus and JesusWho among us wants to be known as a condescending person? I suspect that the likely answer is “no one among us.” In modern American English usage it has an almost exclusively negative connotation. Merriam-Webster definition of condescending is “showing or characterized by a patronizing or superior attitude toward others; showing that you believe you are more intelligent or better than other people.” In other words, a condescending person probably thinks that we should be considered honored that they would stoop from their position of power, privilege, and prestige to speak to us. I mean, really, is there a world in which being condescending is something we would want to imitate? Continue reading

The Triumph of the Cross

Christ on CrossIn the earliest days of Christianity, believers did not display the cross as a sign of their faith. The cross was the Roman implement for executing its worst criminals. The earliest Christians were well aware that the cross was a symbol in tension: humiliation of the manner of Jesus’ death and the triumph over sin which Jesus’ dying accomplished. In addition there was, what seemed to non-believers, the contradiction that a crucified man could also be God. And so, the earliest generations of Christians generally avoided depicting the body of Christ on the cross. Ironically, the oldest representation of the crucified Christ has been identified as a graffiti found on a wall in Rome in the second century C.E. In this blasphemous caricature, a pagan artist carved an outline of a man with a donkey’s head hanging on a cross. Another figure is paying homage and the caption reads, “Alexamenos worships his God.” Along with some other factors, divisions within Christianity over the nature of Jesus, the symbol of the cross was rarely seen in public until the fourth century. Continue reading

Lifted up to Eternal Life

Nicodemus and JesusPicking up the dialogue between Nicodemus and Jesus in John 3, we hear

11 Amen, amen, I say to you, we speak of what we know and we testify to what we have seen, but you people do not accept our testimony. 12 If I tell you about earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you about heavenly things? 13 No one has gone up to heaven except the one who has come down from heaven, the Son of Man. 14 And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15 so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.” Continue reading

A different context in which to hear

Bronze-SerpentOur gospel is given a different context in which to hear it proclaimed. The context is provided in using The Book of Numbers 21:4-9:

With their patience worn out by the journey, the people complained against God and Moses, “Why have you brought us up from Egypt to die in this desert, where there is no food or water? We are disgusted with this wretched food!” In punishment the LORD sent among the people saraph serpents, which bit the people so that many of them died. Then the people came to Moses and said, “We have sinned in complaining against the LORD and you. Pray the LORD to take the serpents from us.” So Moses prayed for the people, and the LORD said to Moses, “Make a saraph and mount it on a pole, and if any who have been bitten look at it, they will live.” Moses accordingly made a bronze serpent and mounted it on a pole, and whenever anyone who had been bitten by a serpent looked at the bronze serpent, he lived. Continue reading