What we should feel when we look at the Cross

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He’s with us, crucified with us, nailed with us. He’s not far away in the heavens observing how we cope; rather, he’s at our side, intimately experiencing what happens to us.

Today’s readings can be found here. Read Fr. Epicoco’s brief reflections on the daily Mass readings, Monday through Saturday, here. For Sunday Mass reading commentary from Fr. Rytel-Andrianik, see here.

The word “exaltation” next to the word “cross” should arouse suspicion. One might mistakenly think that the exaltation of the cross is the exaltation of suffering. But the truth is otherwise: What we as Christians celebrate with solemnity today is not just any cross, but the Cross of Christ. And when we say “Cross of Christ” we aren’t referring to the mere wood or nails, but to the way he took it upon himself.

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Indeed, the Cross that saves is the gift of self. Jesus gave his life for each of us, fully putting into practice what he had said: “No one has greater love than he who lays down his life for his friends.”

Accepting the Cross then is not about looking for suffering, but living all that life has in store for us (good or bad) and asking ourselves whether we are accepting it out of love and seeing it as a gift.

In this sense, whether we’re a father who wakes up early in the morning and goes to work, or a mother who juggles to make ends meet, or a sick person who has to go through painful treatment – all of us who experience any circumstance in life have to ask ourselves if we are living those things passively or if we’re welcoming them actively as a way to love and to give life. 

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Jesus came not only to give us an example but to remind us that we’re not alone in this particular way of approaching life.

He’s with us, crucified with us, nailed with us. He’s not far away in the heavens observing how we cope; rather, he’s at our side, intimately experiencing what happens to us.

That’s why looking at Him on the Cross shouldn’t arouse guilt, but a sense of gratitude. We look at him and say, “You decided to be with me, at my side, there where everyone else is running away. You offered your life so that I would never be alone. You died so that I might welcome death knowing that you conquered it.”

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