Today’s Mass readings all point to the sacrifice of Our Lord on the Cross—“for us men, and for our salvation.” Abraham’s faith prefigures Christ’s sacrifice. Saint Paul reminds us that God the Father “did not spare his own son.” The Apostle emphasizes the key truth of the Christian faith: “Christ Jesus it is who died—or, rather, was raised—who also is at the right hand of God, who indeed intercedes for us.” Because “God is for us, who can be against us?”

Like Our Lord himself, the Cross is the supreme object of faith. Only the theological virtue located in the intellect is able to perceive the Cross not as it is itself but as it is in Jesus

The motive of Our Lord’s Incarnation was us men and our salvation. We are the reason why Jesus became man. Consequently, everything—all of us: the good, the bad, the evil, the suffering, our consolation, our desolation, our virtue and our vice—all of us is salvifically understandable only in relation to Jesus. Jesus shows that he makes all things new. Even the worst of things. This is the power of the Cross—what it is in Jesus. Jesus, himself, is the power of the Cross. 

And this is why the intellect’s theological virtue, faith, is so important. The intellect is the power of the soul that understands being and relations as such. The will is ordered to universal goodness—both immaterial and material goods. The sense appetites (i.e., the emotions) are activated only by individual, sensible goods. Only the intellect, however, can per se (in itself) understand things in relation to other things. The theological virtue of faith, then, enables us to see the relation of the Cross to Our Lord—and of ourselves to Our Crucified Lord.

Without the gift of faith, the Cross is only intelligible as it is in itself: an instrument of torture, execution, death, destruction. With the gift of faith, however, the Cross takes on a precious holiness: it is the instrument by which Our Lord saves us, it is the reason why he became man (i.e., the motive of the Incarnation). Through faith we recognize that the Cross is the means through which we find a new identity in Jesus. 

In faith, we do not see anything—neither the Cross, nor the reason for the Cross: us men and our sin—apart from Jesus. The Cross invites us to live by faith. And to live by faith means to see all things in relation to Jesus. Faith enables us to recognize the most precious of all truths: Jesus makes all things new… even the Cross… even ourselves.
And this is why the Eternal Father tells all of us: “This is my beloved Son. Listen to him.” May we contemplate all things in relation to Jesus.