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Honestly, I find the feast of the Exultation of the Cross liturgically misplaced. At first, when we recall of a cross, what comes into our mind is Good Friday, or at least the Holy Week and the Lenten Season. It is in these liturgical days when the theme and the figure of the cross find its suitable place. But why September 14 is the feast of the Triumph of the Cross? What in the world does this mean? Does it really a misplaced feast or it is just appropriate to celebrate a tightly-tied mystery of our faith to the Paschal Triduum in some unanticipated ordinary season of the Liturgical life of the Church?

The liturgical notes of September 14 in the Ordo of Liturgical Celebrations tell us that the celebration must be an appropriate time because of a “double event” in the Church history. In brevity, it is historically imbued. First, on that day, Constantine, the Roman emperor who allowed Christians to practice publicly their faith (remember the “Licet esse Christianos” thing), erected the Church ofAnastasis. This is the Church that houses the empty grave of Jesus Christ. Anastasis simply means “resurrection” or an act of “drawing from one stance or state” if my memory in Greek serves me best. So this is the Church of the Resurrection. At the same time, it he constructed the Basilica called theMartyrium and the spot of Calvarium. This complex of buildings joined as one big Church in Jerusalem house the spots of the greatest events of the history of salvation. The Church was dedicated in 335. Another important event happened which is commemorated on this day. It was the miraculous discovery of the Lord’s Cross by the mother of the Emperor above, the Empress Saint Helena in 320. She found the cross after identifying it when a sick person got healed when he touched the true relic.

But these historical events must have an impact to us as we continue to live the ordinariness of Christian life in this ordinary season. In reality, even the feast exists on this day or not, let us not forget that the mystery of the cross is not an out-dated or a mere seasonal theme or icon in Christian life. The cross must always be a part of our life for it was willed by Jesus to be part of his life here on earth; it is his passage way towards new life. The cross is essentially united to the mystery of the resurrection of Christ; whenever we speak of resurrection, we must speak and cannot but speak of the cross. For without it, the resurrection of Christ is impossibl; the lifting from our own old state to another had not happened. Through the cross, the drama of salvation had begun and the fruits of Jesus’ death and resurrection reach us all time, anywhere and to everyone. Thus, Christian life is imbued by the shadow of the cross as much as it is enlightened by the glory of resurrection. It is inseparable to it; Christ’s cross and resurrection is one. God’s will of salvation is universal and it is appropriate that the cross is always a fresh reminder of salvation and a signification of our unity under the one faith gifted by the grace of Jesus’ resurrection.

So, as we celebrate today the glory of the cross through the memory of the distant histories, let us not forget to approach the shade of this living tree with renewed commitment to incorporate the mystery of redemption in our lives. Let us renew under it our commitment to live always will of God. Christian life is best lived if it is docile to the promptings of the Holy Spirit and by carrying our own crosses along the path of Christ. May we consider always finding our origin under the cross of Christ.

Lastly let us take heed of what Saint Paul had written: “…but we proclaim Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those who are called, Jews and Greeks alike, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God” (1Co 1:23-24 NAB). Christ crucified is wisdom of God. This is the wisdom of love, the wisdom of unconditional love for his beloved people. It is also a power of God, the power of God to draw us into him to lift up with him on the cross. God has initiated the way of the cross; come let us follow it with authentic love and devotion.


 


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