We come once again to the Sunday before the Feast of Holy Cross. Year after year the Church begins the cycle of Feasts in September. Our annual commemoration of the Holy Cross is an annual reminder both of God’s love for us and our love for Him. It gives us another chance, year after year, to ‘get it right’ and mirror the love of God in our lives.
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” (John 3.16) In this famous verse of the Holy Scriptures we learn the essence of our relationship with God. He loves us and we believe in Him.
In calling our minds to this relationship every year at this time, the Church is asking us, “What has changed since last year?” Has our life been centered on belief in Christ, or has our belief waned? It may help to remember another verse from today’s reading. “No one has ascended to heaven but He who came down from heaven, that is, the Son of Man who is in heaven.” (John 3.13)
Year after year God continues to come down from heaven, to raise us up to heaven. He never gives up, no matter how we may have walked away from Him. We say we believe, but year after year, our actions prove our belief remains mostly in our minds rather than our actions. Even despite our walking away, God still comes to save us rather than condemn us.
So, what is our response to this annual reminder of God’s faithfulness? Put quite simply, we must believe enough that it changes our lives. We must be willing to meet God along the path of salvation and allow Him to raise us up to heaven. We shouldn’t take our annual reminder as condemnation but another chance for Him to save us.
“For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.” (John 3.17) This year is another chance for us to be saved by God. Let's not let another year go by without taking God up on His offer for salvation. It’s time to believe in Him and live forever with Him in heaven.