St Paul leaves us in no doubt as to the centrality of the cross of Jesus as a central symbol of the Christian faith. The Gospel today from John supports this point of view. John links the cross with the healing power of the bronze serpent in the Old Testament. Here we are given a sense of the power of the cross to save. Just as those who looked upon the bronze serpent were healed of the poisonous snakebite, so those who look upon the cross of Jesus and surrender to its work in their lives through faith, will be saved from their sins.

The cross of Jesus at first sight looks like a defeat for Jesus! However, when we see that Jesus has been raised from the dead by the Father, we realize that the cross is not a defeat but in fact the instrument of final victory over sin. Because the cross is the instrument of victory over sin it becomes the universal symbol of Christianity.

The cross is the Way of Salvation for all who believe. The cross is the only Path to Eternal Life for all people. The cross is at the heart of the Christian faith – without there is no salvation. This is why there should always be a cross/crucifix in a central position of all our Churches. The cross reminds us of where the victory over sin was won and the price that was paid in order to win it.

As we reflect upon the centrality of the cross in our lives today, perhaps we recognize that we have not thought of it in this context before. Perhaps we have never really thought about the meaning of the cross of Jesus at all! Now is the time to change that and to ensure that we remember to reflect upon the cross’ role in our lives on a regular basis.

If we study Paul’s letters we will be led to a deeper understanding of the cross of Jesus and its relevance for the lives of all Christians. It is worth the effort to try to comprehend his standpoint as his conversion very clearly marks a shift from the Jewish mindset to the Christian mindset.

Is my life centered on the cross of Jesus? Do I regularly call to mind the passion and death of Jesus and reflect upon its relevance for the life that I live now?

Lord Jesus, you gave your life on the cross so that my sins would be forgiven. Help me to never forget this fact. Help me also to pattern my life upon yours and so enter more fully into the mystery of your love for me.