Today the Catholic Church celebrates the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross. The second Mass reading for today is the beautiful plea to humility in the Letter to the Philippians:
Brothers and sisters:
Christ Jesus, though he was in the form of God,
did not regard equality with God something to be grasped.
Rather, he emptied himself,
taking the form of a slave,
coming in human likeness;
and found human in appearance,
he humbled himself,
becoming obedient to death,
even death on a cross.
Because of this, God greatly exalted him
and bestowed on him the name
that is above every name,
that at the name of Jesus
every knee should bend,
of those in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue confess that
Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.
Theodore of Studios wrote this: “How splendid the cross of Christ! It brings life, not death; light, not darkness; Paradise, not its loss.” An instrument of torture becomes a tree of life!
Why do we continue to celebrate the cross? Christ gave us the answer to that: “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.” Today is not just about looking at and celebrating what Christ did. It is about our modeling of his live and his death.