Gospel Reflection – Thursday (14 September) – 23rd week of Ordinary Time The Exaltation of the Cross
As we celebrate the feast of The Exaltation of the Holy Cross, Fr Paul reads from the Gospel of John (3: 13-17) in which Jesus says to Nicodemus, ‘the Son of Man must be lifted up so that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him’. Fr Paul says the feast we celebrate today, The Exaltation of the Cross, also sometimes known as The Triumph of the Cross, begs the question ‘Why do we as Christians exalt an instrument of torture?’, Firstly, we rejoice that something so terrible should have been transformed into a means of redemption for the whole human race. Secondly, we remind ourselves of the fact that Christianity is not an abstract and spiritual religion. It springs from God’s direct intervention in the affairs of the world; a real historical event involving real people; and, in the end, a real execution on a real cross. We may theorize and theologise all we like; but all our theorisings and theologisings are nothing without the history on which they are based. If you take away that history – that Cross – then Christianity is a nonsense. Fr Paul, for our reflection today, suggests we might just take some time to look at a cross and reflect.