"lift high the cross"
The Son of Man "must first endure many sufferings, be rejected by the elders, the high priests and the scribes, and be put to death, and then be raised up on the third day." —Luke 9:22
Early in His public ministry, Jesus told His apostles to keep it a secret that He was the Messiah (Lk 9:21). When He healed people and set them free from the devil, He told these people to keep it secret. One explanation for this may be that Jesus wanted to reveal His sufferings and death before publicizing His Messianic power.
Because the crucified Jesus should be first and foremost in our hearts, Paul determined that while he was with the Corinthians, he "would speak of nothing but Jesus Christ and Him crucified" (1 Cor 2:2). When he preached to the Galatians, he displayed before their eyes Jesus Christ on the cross (Gal 3:1). At Athens, when Paul neglected to begin with preaching Jesus crucified, he suffered one of his worst failures (see Acts 17:32ff).
When the cross is not first, we make up our own warped version of Christianity. We project our own preoccupations onto Christ and make Him into our own image and likeness. Unless we focus on the cross, we will use Christianity as a way of deifying and enthroning ourselves. Repent and "lift high the cross."
Prayer: Father, may I boast of nothing but the cross of Jesus. Through it may I be crucified to the world and the world to me (Gal 6:14).
Promise: "He has made everything appropriate to its time, and has put the timeless into their hearts." —Eccl 3:11
Praise: Sts. Cosmas & Damian, both physicians, became targets for persecution because they practiced medicine without charging any fees, in order to serve the poor in their midst.
Reference: (For a related teaching, order our tape Renewing Our Culture on audio AV 80-3 or video V-80.)
Rescript: †Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, February 25, 2008
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