Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross
(Numbers 21:4b-9; Philippians 2:6-11; John 3:13-17)
The cross by itself intimates transcendence. The vertical leg superseding the horizontal indicates the victory of the human spirit over hatred and deceit. Today the Church celebrates this victory with the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross. Through his death on the cross Jesus -- God and human -- has conquered sin and its resultant death.
But the victory of the cross has not always been sustained by humankind. In the events leading to the Second World War the emergence of the swastika as a national symbol represented a retreat from the accomplishment of Christ. Its bent legs indicated the will of the Nazis to cut short transcendence in favor of Aryan supremacy. It was and remains a symbol of the corruption of the salvation Christ won on behalf of the world.
What happened at an international level last century may come about at a personal level. We may feel contempt for people of a different class, race, or religion. When this takes place, we must not only remember Christ’s victory but go to him. We need to ask confess our sin and ask his grace that we might love others as he did.