カトリック上福岡教会

説教

The Triumph of the Cross

A Monthly Meditation on the Gospel
according to St. John 3:13-17

September, 2020
Father John Satoru Kato,
the Parish at Kamifukuoka

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

“For God sent his Son into the world, not to judge the world, but so that through him the world might be saved.” (John 3:17)

On August 6th, we celebrated the Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord. Now, the Church celebrates the Feast of the Triumph of the Cross on September 14th.

Why do we celebrate the Transfiguration of the Lord, then, the Triumph of the Cross on these days? The Tradition of the Church tells that the Lord’s Transfiguration took place 40 days before his Passover, His Cross and Resurrection, in Jerusalem, which had already commemorated by the Feast of the Triumph of the Cross in Jerusalem on September 14th.

What was, then, the Transfiguration of the Lord? What happened to Him and to the world? The Gospel tells us that “Jesus went up the mountain to pray, taking Peter, Jacob and John with him. As he was praying, the aspect of his face was changed and his clothing became sparkling white.” (Luke 9:28-29)

In this very way, at that very moment, Jesus showed His true-self as the Son of God, even God himself, to His disciples. It was just before He began to leave for Jerusalem for His last days culminating in His Triduum there. St Luke’s Gospel, then, continues to describe, ‘And suddenly there was two men talking to him, they were Moses and Elijah appearing in glory, and they were speaking to Jesus’. (Luke 9:28-31)

What were Moses and Elijah, two of the greatest figures in the Old Testament, the human representatives of God’s Word, talking with Jesus about? St Luke clarifies (Luke 9:31):

“They were speaking of Jesus’ Exodus which he was to accomplish in Jerusalem’.

‘Jesus’ Exodus (from Greek)!’, which means “The Passover or the Paschal Mystery of Jesus”, focusing on His Cross and His Resurrection, in Jerusalem.

Now, it should not be overlooked that the Passover or the Paschal Mystery of Jesus, that is, His Cross and Resurrection, was the clear theme talked, thus as shared, by Moses and Elijah with Jesus at the very moment of Jesus’ Transfiguration, which clearly reminds us of Jesus as the Lord God Himself.

What is, then, the Triumph of the Cross of Jesus? What triumph is that against what?

Jesus has triumphed on the Cross against all the sins and death of the world and the humans. Thus, Jesus’ Cross should be followed by His Resurrection, which is God’s Amen, that is, the divine confirmation, to what would be achieved by Jesus on the Cross!

Now, how has it been done? In St John’s Gospel, Jesus Himself tells us, “No one has gone up to heaven except the one who came from heaven, the Son of the man; as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so must the Son of the man be lifted up so that everyone who believes may have eternal life.”

Jesus, the Son of the man, at the same time the Son of God as well, should be lifted up on the Cross as the sacrifice for an atonement for all the sins of the world and the humans, as well as for the death caused by their sins. St John, then, continues, (John 3:13-17)

“For this is how God loved the world: he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life. For God sent his Son into the world but so that through him the world might be saved.”

The Holy Cross of Jesus, the Son of the man and the Son of God, is exactly the Triumph. On the Cross, Jesus has triumphed against all the sins of the world. On the Cross, at the same time, Our Lord has gained all the souls of us, the sinners, as His rewards, as well as the clear sign of His Triumph, therefore, followed and confirmed by His Resurrection.

Indeed, the Holy Cross of Jesus is the Triumph, which we proudly celebrate on September 14th, the Feast of the Triumph of the Cross, 40 days after His Transfiguration, according to the long tradition of the Catholic Church, back to the 5th Century in Jerusalem.

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

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