“Triumph of the Holy Cross”
From Isaiah we can see the future of our redemption came not through negotiations, bargaining with his enemies, and certainly not through a peaceful conclusion. Instead, …”and I have not rebelled, have not turned back. I gave my back to those who beat me, my cheeks to those who plucked my beard; My face I did not shield from buffets and spitting.” (Is. 50: 5-6). “Yet it was our infirmities he bore, our sufferings that he endured, while we thought him as stricken, as one smitten by God and afflicted. But he was pierced for our sins, upon him was the chastisement that makes us whole, by his stripes we were healed/“ (Is. 53: 4-5).
When we think about the manner in which our salvation was perceived, it was not accomplished through pleading, or waring factions. It came about by suffering through the hands of those he would die for, and continued with his Baptism followed by three and a half years of his ministry. According to Isaiah the entire success of Jesus’ ministry was one of total rejection which became his cross before Calvary.
Sometimes most of us feel that the slightest infringement on our understanding of spiritual freedom becomes a cross and we wonder why we have been given this. Our cross begins when there is no reason we can ascertain set-backs, and instead welcome sufferings as Jesus did. He never rejected his mission and neither should we.
St. Andrew of Crete, from the readings in the Liturgy of the Hours, says “Had there been no cross, Christ could not have been crucified. Had there been no cross, life itself could not have been nailed to the tree. And if life had not been nailed to it, there would be no streams of immortality pouring from Christ’s side, blood and water for the world’s cleansing. The legal bond of our sin would not be canceled, we should not have obtained our freedom, we should not have enjoyed the fruit of the tree of life and the gates of paradise would not stand open. Had there been no cross, death would not have been trodden underfoot, nor hell despoiled.”
Are crosses easy? Of course not. Are they usually welcomed in such a way that our day becomes easier when we confront them? No. Then why should we accept them? Because when we follow Jesus and become like him, we take on a God-like appearance that sets us apart from the way of the world.
“If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it.”
( Lk. 9: 23-24).
Ralph B. Hathaway, The Cross 2021