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Saturday, September 14, 2002

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Triumph of the Cross

Numbers 21:4-9
Philippians 2:6-11
Psalm 78:1-2, 34-38
John 3:13-17

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making change

"It was thus that He humbled Himself, obediently accepting even death, death on a cross! Because of this, God highly exalted Him." —Philippians 2:8-9

We Christians believe that the meaning of life is to change. We're not interested in novelties, that is, superficial changes, but in the greatest changes. We focus on the change from the old, fallen nature to being born again as new creations (see Jn 3:3; Gal 6:15). We believe the Lord changes bread and wine into His body and blood. He changes hate into love, despair into hope, and death into life.

The center of God's miraculous work of changing us is the cross. The cross was originally a symbol of disgrace, of capital punishment. Because of Jesus' death on the cross, it has been changed into the symbol of grace, salvation, and love. At the cross "bad thieves" become "good thieves" (Lk 23:39ff), sinners repent, centurions believe (Mk 15:39), and through His death we receive eternal life. When we "lift high the cross," a church in ruins is restored, the lukewarm are set afire, and the culture of death becomes a civilization of love and life. At the cross, let the Lord do the greatest changes. "Lift high the cross. The love of Christ proclaim till all the world adore His sacred name."

Prayer:  "We adore You, O Christ, and we praise You because by Your holy cross You have redeemed the world" (St. Francis of Assisi).

Promise:  "Just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that all who believe may have eternal life in Him." —Jn 3:14-15

Praise:  "Hail, O cross, our only hope" (see Catechism, 617).

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Robert L. Hagedorn, February 7, 2002

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, February 12, 2002