Today, as I write this, is Holy Cross Day. It’s a commemorative day in which Christians are called to remember the symbol of our very faith. Certainly we all have crosses that we wear around our neck or display on our wall. But let’s not forget that in the first century, we would have been considered evil and psychotic if we put that image on our wall or on a chain to carry.
We can’t forget that the cross was an image of death. Horrible, excruciating death. It was a symbol of terror used by the Roman government to oppress people and govern them in fear. It would be like using a symbol of a noose during the days of slavery in America. If you saw someone hanging on that cross at the edge of town, you’d think twice about speaking out against injustice.
Yet Jesus, by willingly walking to this image of oppression, injustice, and pain and embracing it in his own death, transforms it into a symbol of hope and victory. Amazing, isn’t it?
On Holy Cross Day, we are called to remember that whatever in our lives are images of fear, violence, oppression, degradation, and hatred can be transformed by the power of Jesus. Instead of fleeing from those images, though, like Jesus, we are to confront them and embrace them. Whatever it is that we fear the most, we are to face so that Jesus can turn it into a symbol of our victory of evil and death. It is not an easy task by any means, but it is the way of the Christian, the Way of the Cross.
Almighty God, whose Son our Savior Jesus Christ was lifted high upon the cross that he might draw the whole world to himself: Mercifully grant that we, who glory in the mystery of our redemption, may have grace to take up our cross and follow him; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen.