HOMILY FOR THE FEAST OF THE EXALTATION OF THE HOLY CROSS
THEME: HOPE OF REDEMPTION
BY: Fr. Justin Nzekwe
HOMILY FOR WEDNESDAY SEPTEMBER 14 2022
When we go through suffering or difficult situation, we are often tempted to question God’s love. And sometimes if the situation is so tough, we are sometimes tempted to even question the existence of God. We ask questions like: where was God when this bad thing happened? This was exactly the situation in which the Israelites found themselves. In the midst of their sufferings they spoke against God and Moses saying, “Why did you bring us up from Egypt to have us die in this desert? Because there is no bread or water here and we are sick of this light food”. Their action offended God, and he decided to punish them. He sent burning snakes to bit the people. But why was God so quick to punish them instead of saving them from their difficult situation. Firstly, the Israelites were suffering as a result of their sins. It was as a result of their sins that they would have to go through the longer route to the Promised Land which took them forty years. Secondly, the people are very ungrateful. They forget so fast about their suffering in Egypt which led God to decide to save them, and right now they are now blaming God and Moses just because of the few difficulties they encountered in the desert.
However, God’s mercy is endless. Each time we repent from our sins and ask God for forgiveness, he forgives us and remembers our sins no more. God told Moses to make a bronze serpent and place it on a pole, and whoever is bitten by the snake and looks at the bronze serpent will be alive. Jesus in the gospel reading compared his crucifixion with the bronze serpent lifted on a pole by Moses in the desert. Just as the bronze serpent saved the sinful Israelites from dying as a result of snake bite, so also the crucified Jesus will save the world from eternal damnation. Today we celebrate the feast of the exaltation of the cross. It is a celebration of our hope of redemption. It is a celebration of God’s love for sinful humanity. When we go through periods of hopeless, worthless, worries, grief, illness, broken hearts, conflicts, loneliness, rejection, and other difficult situations, we could look towards the cross as a symbol of hope. We could go to the crucified Jesus to look at him for healing and consolation. He was crucified for no other reason except for you. It is for you that Jesus has to walk through the painful road of Calvary. It is for you that he wore the crown of thorns, so that you can wear the crown of glory. It is for you that he declared that it if finished, so that your problem will become the things of the past. We pray in this holy mass that the crucified Jesus may forgive us our sins, heal our sorrows, and make us worthy to receive the eternal reward in heaven.