CROSSROADS AHEAD

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This is the  time  we are standing at the crossroads. We had  in the past crossed many  a hurdle, overcome  treacherous terrains, passed  hidden dangers and  finally reached this point in our  journey. While standing at the   crossroads we are  tempted to look at the many  roads promising  us of  comfortable passage  through the lush green meadows ahead. They are brimming with men of all hues hurrying to reach the destination of their choice. And, of course,  there is another  narrow path just enough for a man to  pass  with  great difficulty and which is not frequented by  travellers.

We, having decided to  take this less traversed  path, are  ever reminded of our constant companion  in this arduous journey; THE CROSS.  Cross is  always remembered  for its salvific value. It is the deathbed of our Lord Jesus Christ. It  was on these two pieces of wood that   Jesus celebrated his victory over the devil. It has been the most prominent symbol of Christian faith through centuries.

We attach great importance  to  crosses, be it crucifixes or  simple crosses. Tradition says that  Queen Helena, the mother or Emperor Constantine  set out to  locate the original cross on which Jesus was  crucified.  We are familiar with  the narration of  how they  distinguished  Jesus’ Cross from the crosses of the  thieves. When  a dying woman   touched  the cross of our Saviour she was miraculously  healed.  Shortly thereafter Emperor Constantine built the Church of Sepulchre and  the Church at Calvary.  We celebrate the  Feast of the  Exaltation of the Holy  Cross on 14th September to  commemorate the  discovery of  the  Original Cross,  consecration of these two churches and also the recovery of  the Cross from the Persians who  took hold of it for a short while during the   seventh century. 

Why should we  venerate the Cross? To say it is because  Jesus Christ bought us salvation  through the cross  is  an understatement. The truth is that he  brought our salvation by paying the  highest  price which any person has ever paid in  human history, the  Holy Blood of the Son of  God!   For us  Christians, saved by the  precious blood of Jesus Christ,  the Cross  should be   identified in four different ways.

Firstly   it is the Cross of Love.  Out of his love towards us only, Jesus selected this instrument  of torture for his sacrifice.  Before  ascending it he commanded us to love one another. “I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another.  By this everyone will know that  you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:34-35).

Secondly it is the  Cross of  Forgiveness. While going through  the most excruciating pain, what  Jesus did was  to pray for  those who crucified him 

“Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34). Again he  assured  forgiveness  to a criminal  who was crucified with him “Truly  I tell you, today you will be with me  in Paradise” (Luke 23:43).  In the  only prayer he taught his disciples, Jesus   tells them  to forgive  their  debtors as a condition to  beseech God’s forgiveness.

Thirdly, it is the Cross of Truth because Jesus is the ultimate truth. “I am the way, and the truth, and the life” (John 14:6).  Book of Revelation tells about  certain people  who  stood by truth till the   last moment.  ‘They have been redeemed  from human kind as  first fruits for God and the Lamb, and  in their mouth  no lie was  found; they are blameless’ ( Rev. 14:5).

Fourthly, it is the Cross of  Humility. ‘Though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with  God as  something to be  exploited, but emptied himself, taking the form of a  slave, being born in human likeness, and being found in  human form, he humbled himself and became obedient  to the  point of death – even  death on a cross’  ( Phil. 2:6-8).

‘Therefore  God also highly exalted  him and gave him the name that is above every name’ (Phil. 2:9). If God the Father exalted Jesus because  he   humbled himself  to the point of  a horrible death on  a cross, what other reason do we  need to  venerate  the Cross, which is the  Tree of Life?

Remember that we are standing at the  crossroads  from  where  many roads lead to perdition, but only one leads to eternal bliss. Also remember that  we are looking forward to see the sign of the Son of Man appearing in  heaven. To muster the  courage to  stand before   the Son of Man on that  great day, we should start our journey right now  carrying our  own crosses.  Needless to say, that day is not far.

Let us take a decision to   pursue the road of the cross at the crossroads. May  the Crucified Christ give us the strength to carry our crosses  till we cross the  gates  of the  New Heaven and the  New Earth promised to us.

Let us pray:

Oh, Adorable Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, You have suffered death on the Cross for our sins.

Oh, Holy Cross of Jesus, be my true light!

Oh, Holy Cross, fill my soul with good thoughts.

Oh, Holy Cross, ward off from me all things that are evil.

Oh, Holy Cross, ward off from me all dangers and sudden death and give me life everlasting!

Oh, Crucified Jesus of Nazareth, have mercy on me now and forever.

In honor of the Precious Blood of Jesus, his death, resurrection and ascension which leads to everlasting life; true as Jesus was born on Christmas Day; true as Jesus was crucified on Good Friday; true as Joseph and Nicodemus took Jesus down from the cross and buried Him; true as Jesus ascended into Heaven; may He preserve me from my enemies visible and invisible forever.

Oh, Lord Jesus Christ have mercy on me! Mary and Joseph pray for me.

Lord Jesus Christ, through Your suffering in the Cross grant me strength to bear my Cross without fear or dread and give me the grace that I may follow You. Amen.

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