Although we praise Our Lord for all kinds of reasons, we praise and glorify Him above all for the cross. It’s His death, for all of us, that St. Paul reminds us is the ultimate sign of Christ’s love for us.
Today we celebrate Laetare (Rejoice) weekend in our Lenten journey...it sets a tone of joyful anticipation of the Easter mystery. The connecting of Christ’s cross, and following resurrection, made Paul so proud, so happy, so full of joy and exultation. When he wrote his letter to the Galatians he reminded them “God forbid that I should glory in anything but the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
In Today’s reading, from St. John’s Gospel, we hear a familiar phrase that needs constant repeating…”God so loved the world that He gave His only son, that all who believe in Him might not perish but have eternal life.” Paul further comments that Jesus referred to the glory of His suffering and death (on a cross), would be accomplished in His resurrection. God’s love is exalted not in signs, wonders, or miracles no longer, but by means of the cross. Christ’s humility, though He was still divine, was shown by his acceptance of the cross...for our sake.
Lastly, Paul beautifully captures the essence and impact of the crucifixion by asking his hearers to likewise embrace the results of the cross…”to love one another as Christ loved us.” Paul begs us to accept Christ’s cross and to bear our own crosses, Peter protested “God forbid this! This shall never happen to you”… it was Jesus Himself who showed that through His cross… we are saved.