Pope Francis: The Cross Is ‘Not a Piece of Jewelry’ but Symbol of Christian Faith

The Christian cross is “not an adornment for the house or a piece of jewelry to wear,” but a reminder of Christ’s love in saving mankind from evil and sin, Pope Francis said Sunday.

In his weekly Angelus message, the Pope reflected on the Sunday gospel reading that depicts Jesus transfigured before three of his disciples on Mount Tabor. Christ “wanted to reveal his glory to his disciples not to prevent them from experiencing the cross, but to show where the cross leads,” Francis said. “Whoever dies with Christ, will rise again with Christ. And the cross is the door of the resurrection.”

“Those who fight together with Him, will triumph with Him. This is the message of hope that the cross of Jesus contains, urging us to courage in our lives,” he said.

“The Christian cross is not a decoration for the house or a piece of jewelry to wear,” Francis continued, but “a reminder of the love with which Jesus sacrificed himself to save mankind from evil and sin.”

Sunday’s Angelus was the Pope’s first public appearance since returning to Rome from a week-long retreat in the Italian town of Ariccia.

“In this Lenten season, let us devoutly contemplate the image of the crucifix, Jesus on the cross,” Francis said Sunday. “This is the symbol of the Christian faith, the emblem of Jesus, who died and rose for us.”

“Let us make sure that the Cross marks the stages of our Lenten journey to understand ever more fully the seriousness of sin and the value of the sacrifice with which the Redeemer saved us all,” he said.

Christ revealed himself to his followers as a different type of Messiah than they were expecting, Francis said, and this difference reaches its culmination in the apparent defeat of the cross.

As Messiah, Jesus was not “a powerful, glorious king, but a humble, defenseless servant,” Francis said, “not a gentleman of great wealth—a sign of blessing—but a poor man with nowhere to lay his head; not a patriarch with numerous offspring, but an unmarried man without house or home.”

“It really is an upside-down revelation of God,” the Pope said, “and the most disconcerting sign of this scandalous reversal is the cross. But precisely through the cross, Jesus will reach his glorious resurrection, which will be final, not like this transfiguration which lasted a moment, an instant.”

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