Feast of the Exultation of the Cross 2022

Fr. Rick’s Two Minute Homily Feast of the Exultation of the Cross 09-14-2022
Feast of the Exultation of the Cross 2022
Luke 3:13-17 https://bible.usccb.org/bible/readings/091422.cfm

I find it amazing that every Catholic Church worldwide is celebrating today as an instrument of execution. We call it “The Exultation of the Cross.” The Romans adopted this most severe form of execution from the Chinese and reserved it for the worst criminals. I find it amazing how God takes something so evil and cruel and changes it into the central symbol of our Catholic Faith and the sign of our salvation.

I like the story that Brennan Manning told in his book, The Signature of Jesus.
While meditating under a big tree on a riverbank, an older man saw a scorpion floating helplessly on the river. Quickly the man stretched himself out on one of the tree’s long roots and reached out to try to rescue the drowning creature.

– As soon as he touched it, the scorpion stung him. Instinctively the man pulled away. But as soon as he regained his balance, he stretched out again to save the scorpion. Again, he was stung for his efforts so severely that his hand swelled up most painfully.

A passerby who had seen all that had happened called out, “Only a fool would risk his life for the sake of such a creature.” Calmly the man replied, “My friend, just because it is the scorpion’s nature to sting, that does not change my nature to save.”

There’s no getting around it that Jesus did not want to have to go to the cross. He prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane to let the cup of suffering pass by him. Only a free, pure act of sacrificial love stops evil and sin in its tracks.

Like the scorpion, the nature of sin and evil is to destroy; the nature of Jesus is to save and give life to the one who sins. Until we embrace his perfect love for us and turn away from our sin, there is no Exaltation of the Cross in us. So let us not be afraid of the sting we might feel when we face the truth of our sinfulness.

It’s only a tiny cross of suffering compared to what Jesus carried for us. So may all of our crosses of death become trees of life and a source of salvation for many, especially for people for whom we pray.


Father Rick Pilger, I.C.

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