Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross


Christ on the Cross. Francisco de Zurbarán (1627)

Tuesday, September 14 
The Exaltation of the Holy Cross – Feast 

Roman Ordinary calendar


Book of Numbers 21,4b-9.

With their patience worn out by the journey, 
the people complained against God and Moses, “Why have you brought us up from Egypt to die in this desert, where there is no food or water? We are disgusted with this wretched food!” 
In punishment the LORD sent among the people saraph serpents, which bit the people so that many of them died. 
Then the people came to Moses and said, “We have sinned in complaining against the LORD and you. Pray the LORD to take the serpents from us.” So Moses prayed for the people, 
and the LORD said to Moses, “Make a saraph and mount it on a pole, and if anyone who has been bitten looks at it, he will recover.” 
Moses accordingly made a bronze serpent and mounted it on a pole, and whenever anyone who had been bitten by a serpent looked at the bronze serpent, he lived. 

Psalms 78(77),1-2.34-35.36-37.38.

Hearken, my people, to my teaching; 
incline your ears to the words of my mouth. 
I will open my mouth in a parable, 
I will utter mysteries from of old. 

While he slew them they sought him 
and inquired after God again, 
Remembering that God was their rock 
and the Most High God, their redeemer. 

But they flattered him with their mouths 
and lied to him with their tongues, 
Though their hearts were not steadfast toward him, 
nor were they faithful to his covenant. 

But he, being merciful, forgave their sin 
and destroyed them not; 
often he turned back his anger 
and let none of his wrath be roused. 

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint John 3,13-17.

Jesus said to Nicodemus : “No one has gone up to heaven except the one who has come down from heaven, the Son of Man. 
And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 
so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.” 
For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life. 
For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him. 


Saint Teresa Benedicta of the Cross [Edith Stein] (1891-1942) 
Carmelite, martyr, co-patron of Europe 
Poem « Signum Crucis », 16/11/1937

“That the world might be saved through him”

(…) Made man for love of men

He made a gift to the souls he has chosen

Of his human life in its fullness.

He who formed each human heart

Desires to make known one day

The secret meaning of each one’s being

By means of a new name that only the one who receives it understands (Rv 2:17).

He has united each chosen soul

In a mysterious and unique way.

Drawing from the fullness of his human life,

He makes a gift to us

Of the cross.

What is the cross ?

It is the sign of greatest shame.

Whoever comes into contact with it

Is rejected from among men.

People who acclaimed him before

Turn away from him with dread and know him no longer.

He has been handed over, defenceless, to his enemies.

Nothing remains for him on earth any more

Except suffering, anguish and death.

What is the cross ?

The sign pointing to heaven.

Far above the dust and mists here below

It reaches up high into pure light.

Therefore abandon what men may take away,

Open your hands, lean against the cross:

Then it will carry you

Into eternal light.

Raise your eyes to the cross :

It stretches out its wooden beams

Like a man opening wide his arms

To receive the whole world.

Come, all you who toil beneath the weight of the burden (Mt 11:28)

And you who have nothing but a cry, on the cross with him.

It is the image of the God who, being crucified, becomes pale.

It rises up from earth to heaven

Like the One who rose heavenward

And desires to bear all of us there together with himself.

Only embrace the cross and you possess him

Who is the Way, the Truth, the Life (Jn 14:6).

If you carry your cross, it will carry you;

It will be your bliss.

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