by Diego Velasquez
THE SIGN OF THE CROSS 1. The Trinitarian Formula
The anti-Catholics in our country are constantly attacking the Catholic faith and one of their favorite targets is the Catholic Cross. They are claiming that it is evil and the symbol of anti-Christ. Since they deny the HOLY TRINITY they claim that our Trinitarian formula of faith in Baptism and even in signing ourselves with the Cross they claim as demonic in origin. Well we have to clarify these matters.
First, where did we get the Trinitarian formula for Baptism and the Sign of the Cross? Here it is:
Matthew 28:19 (New King James Version) Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit…
Thus the Trinitarian formula is specifically and directly given by the Lord Jesus to HIs Apostles and followers. The truth of this formula is further expressed in Sacred Scriptures in various ways:
2 Corinthians 13:14 [New International Version] May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.
1 Peter 1:1-2 Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To God’s elect, strangers in the world, scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia, who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and sprinkling by his blood: Grace and peace be yours in abundance. [NIV]
2. Christians are called to glory in the Lord’s Cross
Galatians 6:12-16 ‘But God forbid that I should glory, save in THE CROSS of the Lord Jesus Christ…’
So like St. Paul we Catholics ‘glory’ in the Cross of the Lord Jesus Christ. Any problem with that?
3. The Cross-Source of Reconciliation
Ephesians 2:16 ‘And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by THE CROSS…’
4. The Cross is the Power of God for the saved
1 Corinthians 1:17-18 ‘For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel – not with words of human wisdom, lest THE CROSS of Christ be emptied of its power. For the message of THE CROSS is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.’ [NIV]
5. The Crucified Lord must be Lifted Up and be Proclaimed
John 3:14-15 [KJV] ‘As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness even so must the son of Man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.’ [Numbers 21:9 [NIV] So Moses made a bronze snake and put it up on a pole. Then when anyone was bitten by a snake and looked at the bronze snake, he lived.]
The Cross then is the fulfillment of the ancient prophecy foreshadowed since the time of Moses. And if the image of a bronze snake was powerful to look at, how much more the image of the Cross of Jesus. So, it is not evil to make an image especially if it is the image of Christ crucified.
John 12:32 ‘And I, if I be lifted up, from the earth, will draw all men unto me.’ [KJV]
1 Corinthians 1:23 ‘but we preach CHRIST CRUCIFIED, unto the Jews a stumbling block, and unto the Greeks foolishness… [KJV]
6. The Crucified Lord is source of Divine Wisdom
1 Corinthians 2:2 ‘For I determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ, and him CRUCIFIED.’ [KJV]
7. St. Paul in Tears for the Enemies of the Cross
Philippians 3:18-19 ‘for many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the ENEMIES of THE CROSS of Christ: whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.’ [KJV] 8. The Prophecy of Ezekiel
Ezek 9:3-6 ‘Ang kaluwalhatian ng Diyos ng Israel ay tumaas sa mga KERUBIN na dating kinaroroonan patungo sa pintuan ng templo at tinawag ang taong nakasuot ng lino at sa kanyang tagiliran ay may hawak na sisidlan ng panulat. Sinabi sa kanya ng Panginoon, lumibot ka sa lunsod, lumibot ka sa Jerusalem at TATAKAN NG KRUS ang mga noon ng mga taong humihibik at umiiyak dala ng lahat ng kasuklam-suklam na bagay na ginagawa sa loob ng lunsod…Patayin ninyo ang matanda, binata, dalaga, bata at babae hanggang sa malipol ang lahat, subalit HUWAG NINYONG GALAWIN ANG SINO MANG MAY TATAK NA KRUS.’ [Ang Banal na Biblia by Msgr. Jose C. Abriol]
Ezekiel 9:3-6 [The Jerusalem Bible] The glory of the God of Israel rose off the cherubs where it had been and went up to the threshold of the Temple. He called the man in white, with a scribe’s ink horn in his belt and said, Go all through the city, all through Jerusalem, and MARK A CROSS ON THE FOREHEADS of all who deplore and disapprove of all the filth practiced in it. I heard him say to the others, ‘Follow him through the city, and strike. Show neither pity nor mercy; old men, young men, virgins, children, women, kill and exterminate them all. BUT DO NOT TOUCH ANYONE WITH A CROSS ON HIS FOREHEAD. Begin at my sanctuary.
Well, well, well. It sounds Catholic to me. A man dressed in white asked to put a cross on the foreheads of the faithful ones. Sounds familiar; looks like a Catholic priest performing Baptism. Those who will receive the cross are those who deplore evil in the society. Well, before one receives Baptism he or his parents are asked to renounce Satan and Evil 3 times, isn’t it? Then, the counting begins with God’s sanctuary. Oh, only Catholics have sanctuaries and tabernacles and altars because the Protestants, Evangelicals destroyed the sanctuaries, tabernacles and altars. They claim that they are not necessaries. Interesting. Much more on the fulfillment of the above prophecy:
9. The Fulfillment of the Prophecy
Revelations 7:3 ‘Saying, HURT NOT the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have SEALED the servants of our God IN THERE FOREHEADS.’ Revelations 14:1 ‘And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with him an hundred and forty and four thousand, having HIS FATHER’S NAME WRITTEN IN THEIR FOREHEADS.’ In Ang Biblia: ‘ang apat na put apat na libong may pangalan niya (Cordero), at pangalan ng kanyang Ama, na nasusulat sa kanikaniyang NOO.’
Mt 28:19 ‘in THE NAME OF THE FATHER, AND OF THE SON, AND OF THE HOLY SPIRIT.’
Objection: The Cross puts Jesus in continuous shame! Answer: No! No! No! St. Paul explicitly declares that the Cross is a ‘manifestation of the Power of God‘ [1 Cor 1:17-18]. How can the Power of God put Jesus into shame? That interpretation is only true before the Resurrection of the Lord but no longer true at this point in time.
St. Paul of Tarsus by El Greco
Even though the Lord Jesus lives Eternally it is Biblically permissible to depict Him still in His moment of sufferings and death. In fact the Bible is also doing the same as St. John testified = Jesus is a SLAIN LAMB perpetually! (Revelation 5:6)
Icon of St. John the Evangelist
St. Jerome Emiliani, founder of Somascan Order, contemplating the Cross