Tuesday, September 13, 2005


My Dear Friends,

Last week I wrote to you of the feast of Our Mother of Sorrows. This week let us reflect on another wonderful feast celebrated by the Church during the month of September, "The Exaltation of the Cross."

The most important event in human history was the Redemption. Jesus Christ, the Son of God shed His blood for us on the Cross of Calvary. Each year on September 14th, the Church recalls His redemptive crucifixion with a special feast called the Exaltation of the Cross.

The Entrance Antiphon sets the theme of the Mass: “We should glory in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, for He is our salvation, our life and our resurrection; through Him we are saved and made free.”

Jesus Christ is our Savior. He, and He alone, is our life and resurrection. It is only through Christ Crucified that we are saved. By His death, we are freed from sin, Satan, and eternal death. Jesus Christ is the Redeemer of Man.

This doctrine is expressed in the Opening Prayer of the Mass: “God our Father, in obedience to you your only Son accepted death on the Cross for the salvation of Mankind.” The key word is obedience. Because of the disobedience of our First Parents, sin, suffering and death came into the world. By His complete obedience of Jesus Christ to the will of the Father, Jesus overcame sin and its dreadful effects. Thus, Jesus Christ is the New Adam.

The First Reading of the Mass is from the Book of Numbers. After God delivered the Israelites from the bondage of the Pharaoh in Egypt, they complained against God and doubted His love for them. For this, God punished them. He sent saraph serpents, which “bit the people so that many of them died.” The people repented and appealed to Moses who interceded for them. God said to Moses: “Make a saraph and mount it on a pole, and whenever anyone who has been bitten by a serpent looks at the bronze serpent, he will live.”

There is rich symbolism here. The bronze serpent represents Jesus Christ while the pole represents the Cross of Calvary. When the Israelites who were bitten by the serpents looked on the bronze serpent mounted on the pole, they were healed. In like manner, we who have been bitten by falling into sin, look to the Cross of Christ. It is through the Cross of Calvary that we are healed.

The Responsorial Psalm recalls the 78th Psalm: “Do not forget the works of the Lord.” The Church is calling us to remember Christ Crucified. Do not forget our Redemption. Do not forget that Jesus Christ is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world!

Jesus Christ took upon Himself the sins of the world. Every sin possible comes under the umbrella of the Cross. Jesus on Calvary forgave every sin that was ever committed from the sin of Adam to the sins of the last man who will ever walk the face of the earth. An old preacher once said that it is as though one single match represented all the sins of the world. Light that match and throw it into the heat of the sun. That solar inferno would swallow it totally. On the Cross of Calvary, Jesus Christ swallowed all of our sins. He, who was without sin, as Saint Paul says, became sin. Our Savior, with His arms outstretched in an embrace of love, took our sins upon Himself. We are saved by the Blood of the Lamb. The Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. Praised be Jesus Christ!

Father Richard J. Rego


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