Daily Reflection – Sep 14, 2016
Wednesday 14 September 2016
First Reading: Numbers 21:4-9
Do not forget the works of the Lord!
Psalm 77(78):1-2, 34-38
Second Reading: Philippians 2:6-11
Gospel Reading: John 3:13-17
Today’s Feast: Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross
History of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross
Jesus said to Nicodemus:
“No one has gone up to heaven
except the one who has come down from heaven, the Son of Man.
And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert,
so must the Son of Man be lifted up,
so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.”
For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son,
so that everyone who believes in him might not perish
but might have eternal life.
For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world,
but that the world might be saved through him.
He humbled himself, becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross. (Philippians 2:8)
The design of the cross is so simple. It’s just two lines, but the entire gospel can be found in them. Picture one vertical stroke from God descending and intersecting the horizon of the sky. Right there, in the middle, that’s where heaven and earth meet. That’s where everything is transformed.
That’s just like the power of the cross, isn’t it? Its message of self-sacrificing love and mercy is so simple that we can easily apply it to every part of our lives while at the same time none of the world’s brightest theologians can fully grasp its mysteries.
We lift up the cross of Christ today because that’s where heaven intersected earth. God meant this sign to be for everyone who believes—an all-embracing, universal banner of his love (John 3:16). He longs for the whole world to be united under it. Yet as universal as the cross is, it is also intensely personal. Jesus was crucified there for you. He wants his love to intersect with every strand of your being. He wants you to know that everything, from your head to your heart and all that’s in-between, can be touched by heaven.
This sounds so beautiful, but also theoretical. Exactly how can we invite heaven to reach every corner of our lives? For help, remember the Israelites in today’s first reading. Life flowed into them when they fixed their eyes on the bronze serpent in the desert. So maybe you could start by lifting up the cross in your imagination. Picture Jesus there, pouring himself out for you and for the whole world. Think about the extraordinary kindness and goodness of God that are displayed there. Keep your gaze fixed upon the cross, and grace will flow into you and soften your heart.
The cross is the greatest sign of Jesus’ triumph over sin and death. It tells us that God loves us so much that he was willing to bring heaven down to earth even after we had fallen into sin. So rejoice and celebrate today. Glorify God and thank him for this mighty gift. Tell him that you want to receive his deepest blessing: heaven in your heart!
“Jesus, thank you for the cross. Help me to lift it high in my heart and my mind.”