THE SACRIFICE OF THE CROSS AND OF THE MASS

“He humbled Himself, obediently accepting even death, death on a cross!” —Philippians 2:8

Jesus began the day of His death on the cross by celebrating the first Mass. The Mass makes present the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1366). “In this divine sacrifice which is celebrated in the Mass, the same Christ Who offered Himself once in a bloody manner on the altar of the cross is contained and is offered in an unbloody manner” (Catechism, 1367). Consequently, those who adore Christ crucified and “take up His cross each day” (Lk 9:23) are called to center their lives on the Mass. Those who truly claim to be Eucharistic are “crucified with Christ” (Gal 2:19) and make their lives the “way of the cross.” Jesus’ cross and Eucharist should always be together.

Today as we celebrate the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, let us eat Jesus’ Flesh and drink His Blood in Holy Communion and “proclaim the death of the Lord until He comes!” (1 Cor 11:26) If we take up the crosses of Gospel poverty, fasting, making sacrifices, washing others’ feet (Jn 13:5), taking the lowest place (Lk 14:10), and forgiving our enemies, we will find that we love the Eucharist more than ever. If we center our lives on Sunday Mass, prepare for Mass, try to go to Mass daily, and make visits to the Blessed Sacrament, we will not run away from the cross. Instead, we will wonderfully and joyfully embrace it. “Lift high the cross,” and lift high the Eucharistic body of the Lord.

PRAYER: Father, may I learn from the stigmatists, St. Francis of Assisi and St. Padre Pio, to live an intensely Eucharistic “way of the cross.”
PROMISE: “Just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that all who believe may have eternal life in Him.” –Jn 3:14-15
PRAISE: “May I never boast of anything but the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ! Through it, the world has been crucified to me and I to the world” (Gal 6:14).

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