From the vault, some thoughts for the feast we mark today, The Exaltation of the Holy Cross:
Behold the wood of the cross—and behold something more than an instrument of death.
Behold the wood of the cross—and behold how two simple pieces of wood converge. See how those lines intersect. Not just a cross, it almost resembles a destination on a map, a crossroads, a place where points converge.
And in that astonishing convergence, the cross gives us Christ.
The horizontal beam is the earthly life of man of flesh and blood who lived with us, walked with us, struggled with us, ate with us, thirsted with us, suffered with us, wept with us. It spans the length and breadth of the world he knew.
The second beam, the vertical piece of wood, is directed from the earth to the heavens. It is grounded, literally, in the earth, the rock of Calvary. Yet it points up, to the divine—reminding us of the Son of God who forgave sinners, who offered sight to the blind and freedom to the captives and life to those who were dead. The one who was there at the beginning of time, and is here with us even now.
I submit to you: in the cross, those two beams of wood, we see in a powerful and tangible way the intersection of the human with the divine. The cross represents all Christ was, all he is, all he will always be.
Here is, quite literally, a crossing point of history.
Here is the Incarnation made manifest. Here is Emmanuel, God with us.
And of course, at the meeting point of the human and divine, where those two pieces of wood connect, in the middle see the bloodied, bruised body of Christ.
Here is our salvation—our brother and our God.
Behold the wood of the cross, on which hung the salvation of the world.
— from a reflection on the Seven Last Words, Good Friday 2015