The Cross: the Only Means of Salvation

Friday, September 14, 2012 by Food for Thought


FirstReading: Nm 21:4b-9
Psalm: Ps 78:1bc-2, 34-35, 36-37, 38
SecondReading: Phil 2:6-11
Gospel: Jn 3:13-17

Today, as we celebrate this feast of the Triumph of the Cross, Jesus reminds us that the very purpose for which he came into the world was to save the world. And there is only one means by which the world is going to be saved: that is, the Cross of Jesus Christ. The Cross stands as the center point of all world history. When we consider the Cross, Saint Paul reminds us that we are to glory in nothing but the Cross of Our Lord Jesus Christ; that must be our boast.

St. Paultells us, “For the world, that is folly. It seems foolishness to the world. It is a stumbling block to the Jews and it is folly tothe Greeks. But for those who are being saved, the Cross is the wisdom and the power of God.” For us, who believe in Jesus, we look at that Cross. We consider what St. Paul tells us: “He was obedient even unto death, death on a cross.” It is that obedience of Jesus and his willingness to go to the Cross for us that we celebrate in a particular way. What looks like the most humiliating thing and the most foolish thing is, in fact, the most glorious thing in human history. As St. Paul says, “God’s folly is wiser than human wisdom.”

For us who believe, we need to be able to say that we, too, with Jesus, are willing to take up the Cross; that we are willing to be hung on that Cross with him, to suffer with him in order to be raised with him. So, for us, the Cross truly is the wisdom of God. And for those who are saved, they understand that the Cross is the power of God because it is only by the wounds of Jesus, inflicted on the Cross, that we have salvation. It truly is the wisdom and the power of God atwork in those who believe and the only means of salvation. So for us, with St. Paul, then, the Cross is not a point of shame, but it is a point of joy, a means of glory and of hope, because it is the only means of salvation.