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.
Standing on Market Street you can look up to see the golden cross atop the Cathedral’s soaring steeple; you might see crosses on rosaries hanging from rear view mirrors of cars driving past on Broadway. Men and women might pass by wearing a cross on a chain around their neck. It would not be unusual to spot a cross tattoo on someone’s bicep, neck, or shin. Whether decoration or expression of deeply held faith, this unmistakable sign of Christianity can be found everywhere.
We belong to God, and God wants to be at the heart of our lives. At the beginning of Christian life at Baptism, the priest, parents and godparents trace a cross on our foreheads. And we close our lives again with the sign of the cross in the last rites of Anointing of the Sick.
But the most basic place to find this symbol is the shape of our human appearance. Stretch out your arms; our bodies form a cross. This is more than coincidence. Cross: suffering, trial, failure, sin, dead ends, and darkness are part of every human life. Jesus emptied himself and embraced his cross to show us the way to life through every human trial and cross.
God promises a cross. God also is promise of new life, resurrection—-now and in eternity.