Wednesday 13th August – Wednesday of week 19 of the year
Reflection: Ezekiel 9: 1-7, 10: 18-22
THE SIGN OF OUR REDEMPTION
One of the easiest ways to identify a Catholic is through the sign of the cross. Every Catholic knows that we begin and end prayers with the sign of the cross. However, are we aware that the sign of the cross is a powerful prayer in itself?
Today’s first reading gives us one of the historical perspectives of the sign of the cross. In an earlier vision, Ezekiel was shown how people were desecrating the temple of God by worshipping idols within the temple (Ezekiel 8: 9-12). Hence God was to visit the people with his wrath but before this, He made a provision for those who were righteous amongst them by marking their foreheads with a cross (the Hebrew letter ‘tau’ which is in form of a cross). The lives of those who were marked were to be spared (Ezekiel 9: 4-6). A similar situation is seen in Revelation 7:3, 9:4, 14:1 where God ensures that a seal is placed on the foreheads of those who belong to him.
The sign of the cross therefore marks us as Children of God, born again in Baptism in the name of the trinity and sets us apart from the evil of the world around us. Also, as the early Church Fathers taught, the cross that we trace which is the sign of our salvation is also a sign of protection from temptations and danger. Finally, we invoke the name of the Trinity, asking for their presence around us each time we make this simple but powerful sign.
Beloved, let us not be ashamed to make the sign of the cross wherever we are; even in public places. It is a powerful prayer that reminds us though we are in this world, we are not of this world.
“Mark all your actions with the sign of the life giving Cross. Do not go out from the door of your house till you have signed yourself with the Cross. Do not neglect that sign whether in eating or drinking or going to sleep, or in the home or going on a journey. There is no habit to be compared with it. Let it be a protecting wall round all your conduct, and teach it to your children that they may earnestly learn the custom”
–St Ephrem of Syria (died AD 373)
PRAYER: Lord I thank you for destroying the power of sin and death over me through the Cross. Please help me to embrace joyfully and faithfully the life of righteousness you have won for me. Amen.
KNOW YOUR FAITH: CCC 1235 – The sign of the cross, on the threshold of the celebration of Baptism, marks with the imprint of Christ the one who is going to belong to him and signifies the grace of redemption Christ won for us by His cross.
HIDE A TREASURE: “For the language of the cross remains nonsense for those who are being lost. Yet for us who are being saved, it is the power of God.” 1 Corinthians 1:18 RSV-CE
Readings for Today: Ezekiel 9: 1-7; 10: 18-22; Psalm 113: 1-6; Matthew 18: 15-20