14th Sunday: Boasting in the Cross

May I never boast save in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.”  This is quite a change.  Saint Paul is speaking positively about boasting. I thought boasting was bad.  I thought we were never supposed to boast.  Is there ever a time when boasting is OK, even good?

Well, boasting is certainly bad when it is the self-centered, egomaniacal ranting of a tortured soul who bases his or her value on the opinions of others.  But boasting is not bad when it reflects its original meaning of rejoicing in something that is good. 

Saint Paul had reason to boast.  And it was not over what he did for the Lord.  Paul was a little powerhouse who brought the Gospel of Jesus Christ to tens of thousands of people throughout the Roman Empire.  But Paul would not boast in this, or in anything he did.  He boasted in the Cross of Jesus Christ.  He rejoiced that Jesus Christ died for him.  He rejoiced that because of the cross, he was a new creation.  He rejoiced and boasted in the Cross of the Lord Jesus Christ.

And we too are able to join Saint Paul in rejoicing and boasting in the cross of Jesus Christ because we have been saved from sin, saved from a meaningless, empty life, saved from running towards nothing, saved from being an insignificant blip on the radar of humanity.  We join Paul in rejoicing that we have become a New Creation.

What does that mean, “new creation?”  That means exactly what it sounds like.  We have become new beings.  Due to the cross of Jesus Christ we have received His Life within us.  We rejoice in that we can be Christ for others.  St. Teresa of Avila wrote:        

Christ has no body but yours,
No hands, no feet on earth but yours,
Yours are the eyes with which he looks
Compassion on this world,
Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good,
Yours are the hands, with which he blesses all the world.
Yours are the hands, yours are the feet,
Yours are the eyes, you are his body.
Christ has no body now but yours,
No hands, no feet on earth but yours,
Yours are the eyes with which he looks with compassion on this world.
Christ has no body now on earth but yours.

How great is that!  We are a new creation in Christ.  As Christians, as Catholics, we are able to boast in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.  For through the Cross we have become a new creation.