Reflection for the Feast of the Triumph of the Holy Cross…
The Cross… Symbol of Love and Hope…
The Cross is an object of devotion throughout the world and nowhere more so that in Ireland where we have many fine examples of crosses – among them St Patrick’s Cross in Carndonagh, Co Donegal dating to 650 AD, and from the tenth century the West Cross and St Muireach’s Cross at Monasterboice and the High Cross at Clones and the Ardboe Cross on the shores of Lough Neagh.
Today’s Feast of the The Triumph of the Cross by tradition recalls the discovery of the true Cross in Jerusalem around 320 AD.
But more especially for Christians, we celebrate the Cross as the symbol of Christ’s victory over sin, evil and death. Jesus was crucified by nailing to the cross on Good Friday. Why? Because those responsible for it felt threatened by Jesus, by what he said and by what he did. Jesus suffered this terrible death because he remained faithful to proclaiming the Good News that everyone should love God and love all people. We know his death was not the end for on Easter morning Jesus rose, glorious and triumphant, to a new kind of existence. As Risen Lord he is with us always.
The cross is the great symbol of God’s love for the world. Today’s Gospel reading tells us that “God loved the world so much that he gave his only begotten Son… so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life”. The extent of that love is measured by Jesus’ outstretched arms on the cross. That embrace gathers each and everyone and is an assurance of the extent of his love. “This much I love you”, he is saying.
The cross is also a symbol of hope. Our faith is about Good News, the Good News of Jesus Christ, the source of life and hope. To be without hope is to be without a reason for living. This is what marks our Christian faith from all others. Christ’s death and resurrection are the foundation of Christian hope. It is the only Christian way of facing the future, it is the only Christian way of life.
– Fr Hugh B Harkin SM