Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray with Psalm 78 which commands us:

Do not forget the works of the Lord!


The psalm, in its entirety, is a recital of God’s faithfulness to Israel over time, culminating in the triumph of David/Jerusalem/Temple.

God chose David his servant,
took him from the sheepfolds.
From tending ewes God brought him,
to shepherd Jacob, the people,
Israel, God’s heritage.
He shepherded them with a pure heart;
with skilled hands he guided them.

Psalm 78: 70-73

David foreshadows Jesus, the Good Shepherd who not only tends the sheep but becomes the Lamb of God. Jesus completes our salvation by his death on the Cross. In him, the long journey of Psalm 78 is ultimately fulfilled.


Philippians’ exquisite hymn captures the profound nature of that fulfillment:

Christ Jesus, though he was in the form of God,
    did not regard equality with God something to be grasped.
    Rather, he emptied himself,
    taking the form of a slave,
    coming in human likeness;
    and found human in appearance,
    he humbled himself,
    becoming obedient to death,
    even death on a cross.

Philippians 2:5-8

Each of our lives reflects, in its own way, the salvation journey we find in scripture. We experience the same kind of twists and turns, highs and lows as those described in Psalm 78.

In each of these moments, we are held in the mystery of the Cross wherein Christ transforms all suffering to grace:

Because of this, God greatly exalted him
    and bestowed on him the name
    that is above every name,
    that at the name of Jesus
    every knee should bend,
    of those in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
    and every tongue confess that
    Jesus Christ is Lord,
    to the glory of God the Father.

Philippians 2: 9-11

Poetry: Good Friday – Christina Rossetti (1830-1894)

Am I a stone and not a sheep 
That I can stand, O Christ, beneath thy cross, 
To number drop by drop Thy blood’s slow loss, 
And yet not weep?
Not so those women loved 
Who with exceeding grief lamented thee; 
Not so fallen Peter weeping bitterly; 
Not so the thief was moved;
Not so the sun and moon 
Which hid their faces in a starless sky, 
A horror of great darkness at broad noon— 
I, only I.
Yet give not o’er, 
But seek thy sheep, true Shepherd of the flock; 
Greater than Moses, turn and look once more 
And smite a rock.

Music: Adoramus Te, Christe

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