venerator or enemy of the cross?
"Unfortunately, many go about in a way which shows them to be enemies of the cross of Christ." —Philippians 3:18
"Jesus said to all: 'Whoever wishes to be My follower must deny his very self, take up his cross each day, and follow in My steps' " (Lk 9:23). However, the apostles didn't get the message. So Jesus took three of them up a mountain (Lk 9:28). "While He was praying, His face changed in appearance and His clothes became dazzlingly white. Suddenly two men were talking with Him — Moses and Elijah. They appeared in glory" (Lk 9:29-31). "A cloud came and overshadowed them, and the disciples grew fearful as the others entered it. Then from the cloud came a voice which said, 'This is My Son, My Chosen One. Listen to Him' " (Lk 9:34-35). Surely after witnessing such an overwhelming experience the apostles would listen to Jesus the next time He spoke to them about the cross! Yet they didn't listen the next time or the time after that. Eventually, they even ran from the cross and abandoned Jesus as he hung in agony.
Paul also tried to get the Philippians to accept the cross. But it must have been a stumbling block and an absurdity to them (1 Cor 1:23). They were "set upon the things of this world" (Phil 3:19) and shown "to be enemies of the cross of Christ" (Phil 3:18).
During this Lent, the Church also is trying to get us to accept the cross, to take it up daily, and to follow Christ crucified. The Church is calling us to fast for forty days, forgive, repent, go to Confession, pray, and give alms. After listening to the Lord in all these ways, we hopefully will listen to Him about the cross. Then, on Good Friday, we will be venerators of the cross and not enemies.
Prayer: Father, "may I never boast of anything but the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ!" (Gal 6:14)
Promise: " 'Look up at the sky and count the stars, if you can. Just so,' He added, 'shall your descendants be.' " —Gn 15:5
Praise: Praise Jesus transfigured, crucified, risen, and glorified!
Nihil Obstat: Reverend Robert L. Hagedorn, July 26, 1997
Imprimatur: †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, July 29, 1997