Today is the feast of the Exultation of the Holy Cross. The Holy Cross of our Lord and savior was venerated from the beginning of the Christian mystery. Think of how St. Paul speaks of the wisdom of the Cross in 1st Corinthians and in so many other references in his letters. The Cross is more than a sign it is something that has become holy and worthy of our attention. "Cursed is a man who hangs on a tree," Jesus reversed that curse in his saving death and the accursed tree has now become the Tree of Life.
This feast commemorates the finding the of the relics of the True Cross by the Bishop of Jerusalem, Macarius in about 327 AD. A Church was dedicated to house the sacred relic on the 13th and 14th of September of 335 AD. That is what we remember today.
What does the Cross of Jesus Christ mean to me? It is my salvation, my hope, and my glory.
The Cross is my salvation. Through the gift of himself, Jesus Christ repaired the damage done by the disobedience of my sin. My sin is disobedience against God. My sin is rebellion against God. Jesus, in fulfillment of the Prophet Isaiah "makes himself an offering for sin," see Isaiah 53:10-12. Jesus atones for my faults and sins.
The Cross is my hope. In the Cross and in gazing upon the Crucified Lord, I realize that I am not abandoned in my sins, rebellions and pains. Especially for those who suffer innocently, God does not leave us alone but takes on humanity so that he might join us in our sufferings. "They shall name him Emmanuel," which means "God is with us."-- Going back to Isaiah again. Emmanuel, Jesus, God on the Cross in my very humanity, you are my hope!
The Cross is my glory. Jesus calls each and every disciple to "take up [their] cross and follow me." St. Paul expresses this so beautifully in Galatians 6:14 "But may I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world." My growth in maturity, manhood, and holiness only comes through the Cross. Lord, give me the grace to embrace the Cross this day and every day.
For more reading, check out:
This reflection on the readings of the day from Carl Olsen.
This commentary on the Cross as hope. It is from an interview book with Pope Benedict (Cardinal Ratzinger before he was Pope). Quite eloquent and amazing. Suffering is part of the mystery of being human.