Meditation on the Holy Cross
Happy third week of Lent. Hopefully you are still holding strong to your Lenten sacrifices and promises. As we prepare for Christ’s passion in a few short weeks, I would like to offer a meditation on the Holy Cross.
Let’s go back to the beginning, to Genesis 2:16-17. God commands Adam that he may eat of any tree in the Garden of Eden except of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Scripture of course only mentions two trees, the tree of knowledge and the tree of life. It is evident that eating from the tree of life is encouraged, while eating from the tree of knowledge is forbidden “for in the day that you eat of it you shall die.”
The serpent tricks Adam and Eve into eating the fruit from the tree of knowledge and they do not die physically, but die spiritually by committing mortal sin and are thus banished from the garden. God “placed the cherubim, and flaming sword to guard the way to the tree of life.” In the very beginning one tree and its fruit are implicated in the downfall of mankind, while the other tree that offers life is guarded and protected.
We jump ahead to Christ’s passion and death. During this time, crucifixion was a popular form of the death penalty for the Romans. Jesus was forced to carry his cross, which is of course made from a tree, all the way up to Golgotha to be crucified. He hung on the “tree” for hours before he uttered the words “It is finished.” Jn 19:30. Jesus hung on the tree in order to reverse the damage caused by the first tree and its fruit. Jesus is commonly called the New Adam because he is the New Creation and brought about the redemption of the world.
Eating the fruit of the first tree brought about spiritual death, while eating from the fruit (the Eucharist) of the next tree (the cross) brings about eternal life! The cross simultaneously brings about life from death. As we continue our Lenten journey, let us be reminded of God’s magnificence and that God can use any circumstance or situation for His glory.