The old rugged cross

Readings for Monday September 14, 2009

Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross

First Reading: Numbers 21:4-9
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 78
Second Reading: Philippians 2:6-11
Gospel: John 3:13-17

And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.”For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him. (John 3:14-17)

There is a wonderful song by George Bernard called "The Old Rugged Cross." It is one of my favorite hymns, and I believe that this particular song goes along with today's feast day. Take a look at some of the words of this hymn:

"On a hill far away stood an old rugged cross,
The emblem of suffering and shame;
And I love that old cross where the dearest and best
For a world of lost sinners was slain.

So I’ll cherish the old rugged cross,
Till my trophies at last I lay down;
I will cling to the old rugged cross,
And exchange it some day for a crown.

O that old rugged cross, so despised by the world,
Has a wondrous attraction for me;
For the dear Lamb of God left His glory above
To bear it to dark Calvary."

This hymn talks about how this old rugged cross may be just two pieces of wood to other people but to us should have much more significance. For it is where God allowed himself to be nailed to the cross, to shed His blood for us so that one day we too can live a life of eternity with Him in heaven. While the cross may be a emblem of suffering and shame, it is also an emblem of love. We would do well to always look to the cross with remembrance of this great act of love, and if we do this then we can learn to cherish the old rugged cross, instead of ignore or despise it.

The cross is not meant to be a negative symbol, it is meant to give us hope and healing. Like the bronze serpent that Moses made and held cured the people of their affliction, the cross also provides us the healing that we need. The cross heals us by reminding us that God himself shed His blood for us and because of Him we can have life.

God loves each of us more than we can ever know, so much that He let himself die for us on the old rugged cross.

Thank you God, for giving life to us sinners.

Father above, we thank you and give you praise for the gift of this day. Lord, you alone are the truth and the way to eternal life, help us to follow you at all times. Lord, we thank you for your great sacrifice, and we pray that we can stand strong with you at the cross until the day we can make it to heaven. Lord, give us the strength and courage to persevere in this world. We ask this all through Christ our Lord. Amen.

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