It is lovely if one wears a Crucifix, but what matters is that one wears it for the right, sincere reasons…
According to Vatican Radio, Pope Francis said these words today, April 4, 2017, during his daily morning Mass at Casa Santa Marta, while reflecting on today’s reading in which Jesus says to the Pharisees: “You will die in your sins.”
“To die in your sins” Francis reminded, is a bad thing, noting that Jesus was compelled to used the strong words “because their hearts were closed and they did not understand the mystery of the Lord.”
Reflecting on the First Reading in which the Lord tells Moses to make a saraph serpent and mount it on a pole, the Pope said the serpent is “the symbol of the devil,” who caused humanity to sin.
Then Jesus, the Pope continued recalling, said: “When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will realize that ‘I AM,’ and that I do nothing on my own.”
This, Francis said, is the mystery of the Cross.
Not a Symbol
The Jesuit Pontiff highlighted that the bronze serpent was the sign of two things: “the sign of sin and of the seductive power of sin”, and it was a prophecy of the Cross.
The Cross, he continued, is not only a symbol of belonging, but it is the memory of God who was made sin for love. As Saint Paul says: “For our sake he made him to be sin who did not know sin.”
“Taking upon Himself all the filth of humanity,” the Pope stated, “He was lifted so that all men wounded by sin would be able to see Him.”
“Salvation comes only from the Cross, from this Cross that is God made flesh” he said.
Stressing there is no salvation in ideas, good will, or the desire to be good, he distinguished rather that salvation is “in the crucified Christ, because like the bronze serpent, He was able to take all the poison of sin and heal us.”
What’s Is the Cross for You?
“What is the Cross for you?” Francis asked those present. “Yes, it is the Christian symbol. We make the sign of the Cross, but often we do not do it well…”
He criticized that for some, the Cross is like “a badge of belonging,” which they wear “to show they are Christians, or even in search of visibility, they wear it as an ornament decorated with precious gems.”
However, the Pope reminded, whoever does not look to the Cross with faith will die in his sins, will not receive salvation.
“Today,” Pope Francis said, the Church proposes “a dialogue with the Mystery of the Cross, with God who became sin for our sake.”
“Each of us,” he continued, “can say He became sin ‘for love of me.’”
Inviting all faithful to think about how they wear the Cross and how aware they are when making the Sign of the Cross, Pope Francis concluded asking each of us “to look to this God who became sin so that we do not die in our sins,” and to reflect on the questions he just posed.