Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Aleteia
Friday 26 February |
Saint of the Day: St. Paula of St. Joseph Calasanz
home iconChurch
line break icon

Pope: Let us not be afraid to contemplate the cross as defeat

JEZUS POŁAMANY

Shutterstock

Aleteia - published on 09/14/18

Paul was not afraid to show this defeat and even this can enlighten our moments of darkness ...

Life has failures and victories, and we shouldn’t be afraid to contemplate the cross as a sign of defeat, says Pope Francis.

The pope offered this reflection during his morning homily at Casa Santa Marta on this feast of the Triumph of the Cross.

“All that Jesus did during his life” failed on the cross, he said, and all the hope of his followers came to an end.

We must not be afraid to contemplate the cross as a moment of defeat, of failure. When Paul reflects on the mystery of Jesus Christ, he says some powerful things. He tells us that Jesus emptied himself, annihilated himself, was made sin to the end and took all our sins upon himself, all the sins of the world: He was a ‘rag,’ a condemned man. Paul was not afraid to show this defeat and even this can enlighten our moments of darkness, our moments of defeat. But the cross is also a sign of victory for us Christians.

The pope recalled that in the first Reading, the Book of Numbers tells of the moment during the Exodus when the people who complained “were punished by serpents.” This, he said, refers to the ancient serpent, Satan, the “Great Accuser.”

But, the pope continued, the Lord told Moses that the serpent that brought death would be raised and would bring salvation. Francis explained that this “is a prophecy.” In fact, he said, “having been made sin, Jesus defeated the author of sin, he defeated the serpent.” And Satan, the pope commented, was so happy on Good Friday “that he did not notice” the great trap of history in which he was to fall.

As the Fathers of the Church say, Pope Francis continued, Satan saw Jesus in such a bad state, and like a hungry fish that goes after the bait attached to the hook, he swallowed Him. “But in that moment,” the pope said, “he also swallowed His divinity because that was the bait attached to the hook.” At that moment, the pope said, Satan was destroyed forever. He has no strength. In that moment the cross became a sign of victory.”

“Our victory is the cross of Jesus, victory over our enemy, the ancient serpent, the Great Accuser,” the pope said. “We have been saved” by the cross, by the fact that Jesus chose to sink to the very lowest point, but with the power of divinity.”

Jesus said to Nicodemus: When I am lifted up I will draw all people to myself. Jesus was lifted up and Satan was destroyed. We must be attracted to the cross of Jesus: We must look at it because it gives us the strength to go forward. And the ancient serpent that was destroyed still barks, still threatens but, as the Fathers of the Church say, he is a chained dog: Do not approach him and he will not bite you; but if you try to caress him because you are attracted to him as if he were a puppy, prepare yourself, he will destroy you.




Read more:
The devil is like a dog in chains, and he’ll bite if you draw close, says Pope Francis

Our life goes on, Pope Francis concluded, with Christ victorious and risen, and the Spirit he sends, but also it continues with that chained dog, the devil, “whom I must not draw close to because he will bite me.”

The cross teaches us that in life there is failure and victory. We must be capable of tolerating defeat, of bearing our failures patiently, even those of our sins because He paid for us. We must tolerate them in Him, asking forgiveness in Him, but never allowing ourselves to be seduced by this chained dog. It will be good if today, when we go home, we would  take five, 10, 15 minutes in front of the crucifix, either the one we have in our house or on the rosary: Look at it, it is our sign of defeat, it provokes persecutions, it destroys us; it is also our sign of victory because it is where God was victorious.


Jesus-Cross-crucifix

Read more:
A “little sermon” from the crucifix, and Satan’s conquest from a tree

Tags:
Pope FrancisSatan
Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read Aleteia.org every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...




Top 10
1
PADRE PIO
Philip Kosloski
Padre Pio’s favorite prayer of petition
2
LUXOR FILM FESTIVAL
Zoe Romanowsky
20-year-old filmmaker wins award for powerful 1-minute film about...
3
MADONNA
V. M. Traverso
The 9 oldest images of Mary
4
SEARCHNG PURSE
Cerith Gardiner
12 Things every Catholic woman should have in her purse
5
RECONSTRUCTED CHRIST
Lucandrea Massaro
This 3D “carbon copy” of Jesus was created using the ...
6
Jacques Fesch
Brother Silas Henderson, SDS
Meet the Death Row prisoner who discovered a ...
7
CELEBRITY MARRIAGES
Cerith Gardiner
10 Celebrities whose marriages have stood the test of time
See More
Newsletter
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.