The Ultimate Symbol of Love

“Let us, therefore, celebrate the festival, not with the old leaven, the leaven of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth” (1 Cor. 5:8)

In his first letter to the Corinthians, St. Paul writes, “Let us, therefore, celebrate the festival, not with the old leaven, the leaven of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth” (1 Cor. 5:8). St. John Chrysostom comments on this, saying that St. Paul desires for us to celebrate the Cross because “Christ is the Passover and has been sacrificed for us” (1 Cor. 5:7). The Cross is the altar on which the Son was sacrificed for the forgiveness of sins. This is the sacrifice whose aroma the Father has accepted on behalf of humanity. The sins of humanity have indeed been forgiven through the sacrifice of the Cross.

Through the Cross, Christ descended into Hades to save those who departed in the hope and faith of a resurrection to come. St. Basil the Great mentions this in his liturgy when he writes, “He descended into Hades through the Cross.” By the Cross, the gates of Paradise were opened, as spoken by the Lord: “Today you will be with me in Paradise” (Lk. 23:43).

The Cross is the power of Christians. It may appear to be a sign of weakness, but on the contrary, it is truly a mighty power; a power able to defeat Satan and abolish sin with glory. St. John Chrysostom writes: “The thief did not believe when witnessing the raising of the dead by Christ, nor the calming of the waves or the casting of demons. Rather, he believed while seeing Him nailed on the Cross, as He accepted upon Himself insults, spitting, mockery and suffering.

The cross is the narrow gate in which our Lord asked us to enter (Mt 7: 13). “And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake” (Matt. 10:22). “…the time is coming that whoever kills you will think that he offers God service” (John 16:2). The cross is the joy of feeling that the Lord hastens to our help in our tribulations, “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let the patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing” (James 1:2-4). Then he stresses the fact that the Lord rejoices for those who endure the trial in patience and joy, saying, “Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him”(James 1:12).