Triumph of the Cross: Embracing Love, Forgiveness, and Blessing

During the fiesta celebration of Santa Elena Mission Station, Parish Priest Rev. Fr. Rodolfo Abanes delivered a homily on the true meaning of the cross, emphasizing its significance beyond mere decoration or routine gestures.

Fr. Abanes acknowledged the tendency to overlook the profound meaning of the cross in modern times, often reduced to a symbol of fashion or a fleeting act of crossing oneself.

He challenged the congregation to rediscover the essence of the cross, reminding them of its historical context as a form of cruel punishment and a symbol of shame and death.

“The cross meant defeat,” Fr. Abanes stated, highlighting the stark contrast between the cross’s original meaning and our tendency to label it as the “Triumph of the Cross.” He explained that for the people of Jesus’ time, his crucifixion represented failure and disgrace.

However, Fr. Abanes emphasized that for Christians, the cross holds a far deeper significance, that it symbolizes not an end, but a beginning, a symbol of love, forgiveness, and blessing that transcends suffering and death.

“The tree, once the source of shame and death for humankind, has become the cross of our redemption and life,” he declared, emphasizing the transformative power of the cross.

Father Abanes highlighted three key aspects of the cross’s triumph:

  • Triumph of Love: Despite the excruciating pain and humiliation, Jesus’ love for humanity prevailed. His words, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing,” epitomize the triumph of love over hatred and resentment.
  • Triumph of Forgiveness: The cross stands as a testament to Jesus’ unwavering forgiveness, even towards those who inflicted immense suffering upon him.
  • Triumph of Blessing: From the wounds of the crucified Christ, blessings flowed, symbolizing the victory of grace over sin and death.

Fr. Abanes drew a parallel between the cross and the blessings bestowed upon us during baptism. The sign of the cross, administered by the priest, marks our entry into the Christian community and signifies Jesus’ claim upon our lives.

He concluded by encouraging the congregation to embrace the cross in their lives, not as a burden, but as an opportunity for spiritual growth. He urged them to follow Pope Francis’ example in leading the youth in praying the Stations of the Cross, allowing the cross’ message of love, forgiveness, and blessing to permeate their lives.

“No one can approach and touch the cross of Jesus without leaving something of himself or herself there, and without bringing something of the cross of Jesus into his or her own life,” Fr. Abanes reminded.

By embracing the cross’ true meaning, we can transform our own sufferings into opportunities for growth, forgiveness, and a deeper connection with God. (By Luis Angelo Sta. Maria/Volunteer Writer-San Felipe Neri Parish | Photo by Maricar Santos | Photogallery)



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