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For God so Loved the World
Wednesday Gospel Reflection: Feast 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.
In today’s Gospel, the connection between the bronze serpent in the desert and the cross of Christ becomes explicit. Christ explained to Nicodemus that just as the serpent was lifted up, so must the Son of Man. For his sacrificial death atoned for our sins, offering us eternal life through him. As the famous verse of John 3:16 explains, the sacrifice of Jesus is the result of God’s love for the world.
Adam and Eve, through disobeying God and his commandments, were condemned to death. However, “God so loved the world” that He gave us his “only Son” to offer us redemption. A life-giving, truth-bearing way, Christ. Through Christ dying on the cross, we have the opportunity to live eternity with Him.
As Catholics, we reflect upon the Holy Cross in our daily lives. Through making the sign of the cross The cross is the sign of the fullness of life that is ours. At Baptism, too, the Sign of the Cross is used; the priest, parents, and godparents make the sign on the forehead of the child. We also are invited to gaze upon the Holy Cross at mass. We must keep our gaze on him, so we can be healed from the poison of sin and given new life.
On this day we can put the Exultation into action. We can begin by taking time to do an Examination of Conscience, which is simply reflecting on where we have fallen short in our love of God and neighbor. Because we are bound by original sin, we must continue to fight this spiritual battle. We can also make a confession if possible! Trust in God’s healing mercy. A mass could also be attended, gaze upon the crucifix, and reflect on the cross and mystery of Christ.
Let us make the Sign of the Cross and realize we bring our whole selves to God.
In the Name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.