Join us as we reflect, ponder, and pray together inspired by today's Gospel.
Today's Gospel: Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross - John 3:13-17
At a recent retreat, a Carmelite sister I’m blessed to know shared the astonishing idea that the Trinity is not simply a beautiful truth, but a necessary one. If God were only one person, she explained, He would be entirely self-referential. We would be inaccessible to each other.
Instead, the Trinity is relational, a movement among members, a divine dance. The love generated through that relationship overflowed straight into our tangible, messy world in the human person of Jesus Christ. God loves — He loves so much that He gave us His Son.
And He did not give us His Son for glory or acclaim. He gave us His Son knowing the exact contours of the swift brutality that would befall Him. The gospel today says that the Son of Man would be “lifted up,” but here we find a twisted truth. This is not the usual sense of lifting up, the lifting up of our hands in prayer or our hearts to divine love. This is its house-of-horrors opposite, the lifting up of mockery, of lynched men swinging from trees.
Our God is a God of seeming contradictions. A King of the Universe born in a stable. A King of the Jews handed over to the mob. God works in severe mercy, through the dark night that turns out to be a kindness.
The Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross invites us not just to encounter these contradictions, but to revel in them, to await there with joyful hope the movement of the Trinity and the next outpouring of relational love. Wherever we find hopelessness and defeat, we can be sure that the victory of Christ is close at hand.
How does it feel to know that God so loved YOU that He gave His only Son to be lifted up on the cross… for you?
Thank You for showing us that the ultimate victory is always Yours, Lord. Help us to await the resurrection with joyful hope, when we are in the kind, dark night.
Copyright 2021 Christy Wilkens
About the Author
Christy Wilkens, wife and mother of six, is an armchair philosopher who lives in Austin, TX. She writes at FaithfulNotSuccessful.com about disability, faith, doubt, suffering, community, and good reads. Her first book, Awakening at Lourdes: How an Unanswered Prayer Healed Our Family and Restored Our Faith, a memoir about a pilgrimage with her husband and son, will be released by Ave Maria Press in 2021.