Monday, September 14, 2020

Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross

Whenever an opinion poll is taken about matters of religion and faith, before reading the results, I usually embrace myself, take a deep breath and surrender to what is usually challenging results. I was not disappointed when a poll was taken asking Christians if they believed that Jesus was divine. Of course, true to the times in which we live, a good number don’t believe Jesus is divine but a beautiful, wonderful teacher and prophet whose message is one of justice and peace.

Indeed, Jesus was a great teacher whose message inspires people to want a more just society. Yes, Jesus was a good and wise man. But if this is the whole picture of Jesus, that he truly was a great human being but not God, why call yourself “Christian?” Why come to a Sunday service that honors Jesus as human and divine?

I am more sad than angry or disturbed at this poll which speaks a truth we all must face who truly believe that Jesus was Human AND Divine. If a catholic does not believe that Jesus is divine as well as human, why come to mass in which we worship Jesus and pray a Creed that speaks of his human/ divine nature? Why receive Communion and say “amen” to various prayers that speak of the divinity of Christ?

Christ is “lifted on the Cross” to embrace the sufferings and sin of all humanity, and this “embrace” reaches back into time, to Adam and Eve, and stretches out into a future only God knows. If Jesus is only a great human being, there is nothing salvific about the cross. He is not and cannot be a “savior.”

It all boils down to faith: do you believe in Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, who came into our lives to “lift us up” as He Was lifted up on the Cross and into Resurrection? He lifts us up out of suffering and brokenness into new life. Only faith, a gift from God, can give us the ability to SEE that Jesus is more than simply a great human being, but the God-man/human who saves us from ourselves.

Fr. Frank