.- On the Feast of the Triumph of the Cross, Pope Francis devoted his daily homily to considering both the bitterness of suffering and the beauty of sacrifice present in the mystery of the Cross.
“Today we look upon the Cross, the story of mankind and the story of God. We look upon this Cross, where you can try that honey of aloe, that bitter honey, that bitter sweetness of the sacrifice of Jesus,” said Pope Francis to the congregation at Domus Sancta Marta on Sept. 14.
Despite the fact that humanity sinned, God chose to “take up the story” of mankind, “to journey with us.”
According to the Genesis narrative, the first man and woman allowed sin into the world by eating from the forbidden tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
The incarnation of the Son of God brought salvation through a different kind of tree: the wood of the Cross.
“This tree of the Cross saves us, all of us, from the consequences of that other tree, where self-sufficiency, arrogance, the pride of us wanting to know all things according to our own mentality, according to our own criteria, and also according to that presumption of being and becoming the only judges of the world," Pope Franis explained.
"This is the story of mankind: from one tree to the other.”
The only possible explanation for our salvation is Divine love, said the Pope.
“God takes this course for love! There’s no other explanation: love alone does this.”
In the Cross we find both the sweetness of God’s love in redeeming us, and the bitterness of his suffering and death due to sin.
This bittersweet reality is a mystery, which “can only be understood, a little bit, by kneeling, in prayer, but also through tears.”
Moreover, each of us must be aware of the cry of our brothers and sisters “who are looking upon so much human misery.”
Pope Francis emphasized the motherly role of Mary in understanding the dual nature of the cross.
“In order to enter into this mystery, which is not a labyrinth but resembles one a little bit, we need the Mother, the mother’s hand. That she, Mary, will make us understand how great and humble this mystery is; how sweet as honey and how bitter as aloe.”
Each Christian must take up the bittersweet journey of the cross for himself, “with our mother, weeping and on our knees.”