The Triumph of the Cross

Victims No Longer

The Triumph of the Cross

The Cross of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ is a sign of contradiction. It proclaims that it is the prerogative of God to bring good out of evil, order out of chaos, meaning out of absurdity, and life out of death. God’s infinite power comes to us in the human powerlessness of Jesus Christ born wrapped in swaddling clothes at the beginning of his life on earth, and in his powerlessness in being nailed to the Cross at the end of his life here on earth.

The Cross stands at the very apex of Christ’s saving entrance into our humanity – and it stands at the very bottom of Christ’s degradation. The Cross confounds non-believers, it frightens the proud, those people of unbounded ambition who would have themselves be our kings and masters, and who would lead us away from Truth, Justice, Beauty, Love and Community. Finally, the Cross confounds Satan worshippers and all of the demonic in our world.

And yet the Cross of Jesus Christ is a sign of peace, a sign with which we bless ourselves, our children, our homes, and all things we hold dear. Pre-eminently the Cross is proof of how far it is that God our Father has gone to prove His love for you and me. Strangely, mysteriously, and in a seemingly contradictory way, the Cross is a sign of Love. No. It is not merely a sign or a symbol, it is the ultimate proof of God’s love for us. Truly and surely the Cross of our Saviour is a sign of contradiction.

The Cross summons us to change the way we see things. It urges us, challenges us, and demands us to look at the world in a vision and in a way that departs from the vision we might have under a different and secular perspective. It calls us to look at our relationships with others, to look at life, and to see death in ways that are inside-out and upside-down from those who have no faith, and who are forced to see them through the eyes of fear.

Death, under the Cross, is not an ending, it is a beginning. Suffering, pain and loss under the Cross, are no longer things that separate us from God, they unite us to Him. Tragedy under the cross is not ultimate, it is only temporary. Sin under the cross no longer alienates us from God, it occasions His coming to us in the midst of our sins in His merciful love.

Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, is victim no more. Why, then, should we consider ourselves to be victims? Under the Cross there are no more victims! For the wood of the Tree in the middle of the Garden of Eden and the wood of the crib in Christ’s nativity in Bethlehem has become the wood of the Cross that overcomes all that would separate us from the loving Presence of God in Christ. Christ, victim no more, reigns triumphant from the Cross.

From the Tree of the Cross planted in the Garden of the Resurrection, the Christ we now receive, comes to us here on His altar – upon which there are now no more victims. For He is risen, Spirit-filled and victorious forever to join us into His triumph over all that would keep us victims and in bondage.

Truly, we can celebrate here the Triumph of the Cross.

14SEP95 – [A,B & C Cycles]
Numbers 21:4-9; Philippians 2:6-11; John 3:13-17

Rev. Fr. Charles E. Irvin.
St. Mary’s Catholic Church
Manchester, Michigan

About Charles Irvin

Fr. Charlie was ordained a priest June 3, 1967 and has served as pastor of St. Mary Student Chapel in Ann Arbor, founded Holy Spirit parish in Hamburg, MI, served as pastor of St. Francis of Assisi parish in Ann Arbor and was pastor of St. Mary parish in Manchester, MI when he entered Senior Priest status in 2001. In 1999 he was appointed Founding Editor of FAITH Magazine which has grown into Faith Catholic Publishing located in Lansing, MI. He is now very active in his “retirement.”