by Fr. Kevin Joshua Cosme
Why does Christianity exalt an instrument of torture?
Today is the great feast of the Exaltation of the Cross. It commemorates the finding of the True Cross by St. Helena, the mother of the great Roman emperor Constantine, in the early 4th century. Legend has it that when St. Helena went on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, she unearthed three crosses, which she and her companion surmised belonged to Jesus and the two others who were crucified with him.
To know which one belonged to Christ, they brought in a leper from outside Jerusalem. The leper touched the first two crosses to no effect. But when he touched the third, he was instantly cured, and St. Helena knew she had discovered the True Cross.
Today, we’re probably so used to seeing the cross everywhere that its horror is all but lost on us. It was used to brutalize and kill people, and yet we exalt it? It’s like putting up a guillotine or an AK-47 on our altars. But no, we are not sadists.
Think of it this way. You know how “x” marks the spot? Well, the cross is like that. It’s the spot where evil meets goodness, sin finds forgiveness, and death yields to life. It’s the spot where the greatest evil wrought by man meets the greatest good wrought by God. “X” marks the spot of our salvation.
We exalt the cross and embrace it, the better to embrace the One who loves and saves us.
Flex our Faith Episode 6: The Holy Cross | Aired on September 14, 2021