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This Sunday we celebrate the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross. This Feast is always celebrated on September 14th, and when September 14th falls on a Sunday it supersedes the usual. celebration of that day --- in this case the 24th Sunday in Ordinary Time.
Our Gospel for this Feast is a section of Nicodemus’ visit to Jesus. In the section we read today Jesus tells Nicodemus: “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.” These words remind us that for believers the cross is a sign of hope and life, not death. It is a symbol of God’s love and the promise of eternal life.
Our first reading this weekend is from the Book of Numbers. It prefigures Jesus’ words in the Gospel. We are told that as punishment for their grumbling and complaining, the Lord sent “saraph serpents which bit the people so that many of them died.” When Moses prayed for the people, the Lord said to Moses: “Make a saraph and mount it on a pole, and if any who have been bitten look at it, they will live.”
Our second reading this weekend is from the Letter of Saint Paul to the Philippians. It is a Christological hymn that reminds us that “Christ Jesus, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God something to be grasped ……………….. He humbled himself, becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross.”
Questions for Reflection/Discussion:
1. Do you think the cross has lost some of its meaning/impact because so many people wear a cross as a form of jewelry?
2. How would you explain the cross to a non-Christian?
3. What does it mean to you that God so loved the world that he gave his only Son?