THE SIGN OF THE CROSS– November 1, 2012 by Fr. Abe Arganiosa

1. The Trinitarian Formula Mt 28:19/ 2 Cor 13:14/1Pet 1:1ff

Mathew 28:19 [CEV] Go to the people of all nations and make them my disciples. Baptize them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit

The words we are proclaiming while signing of the Cross reminds us of the authority and mission the Church received from the Lord Jesus that is to evangelize the world. We, being the fruit of that evangelization and were baptized with those words, renew daily our baptismal vows by reciting it and reminds ourselves of the tasks to continue telling the world of God’s love. It has found its echoes in several writings of St. Paul, for example:

2 Corinthians 13:14 [American Standard Version] The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit, be with you all.

2. Christians are called to glory in the Lord’s Cross

Galatians 6:12-16 [KJV] As many as desire to make a fair shew in the flesh, they constrain you to be circumcised; only lest they should suffer persecution for the cross of Christ. For neither they themselves who are circumcised keep the law; but desire to have you circumcised, that they may glory in your flesh. But God forbid that I should glory, save in THE CROSS of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature. And as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God.

For true Christians the Cross is the emblem of Salvation. The Cross reminds us of the Redemption given to us by the Lord Jesus on Calvary through which He defeated Satan and the forces of evil: Sin and Death and made possible for us to attain Salvation by His Resurrection.

Because of that the Catholics are very proud of the Cross. We put in on top of our temples and shrines and houses of worships such as our Basilicas and Cathedrals and Chapels. It is at the center of every Altar of our Temples, homes and oratories. We lovingly sign in our bodies, we carry it as necklaces, we hang it on our walls to give thanks to Jesus the Savior and to insult Satan who was defeated by the Lord on the Cross.

Many anti-Catholic groups however, such as the Iglesia ni Manalo of Felix Manalo – the fake angel from Punta Sta. Ana, Manila and continued by his son Eraneo Manalo of Ka-Diliman, Quezon City instead of crosses they have on top of their temples and houses of worships: HORNS. A pointed figure on top like those found on the head of many beasts and animals and most popularly known as proper of the Devil and his fallen angels. Some friends observantly noticed that some Temples or capillas of INM are having two horns which means at the demonic stage, while many others are having one horn similar to that of Zuhl of Voltes V fame signifying that they are still demoñitos.

3. The Cross-Source and Means of Reconciliation with God

Ephesians 2:16 [KJV] And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby

The Lord Jesus reconciled us to God by His Cross meaning His Passion and Death. Thus, the Cross is a symbol and reminder for us not only of the Suffering and Crucifixion of the Lord Jesus but also of the fact that we belong to God the Father through the Cross of Jesus.

4. The Cross is the Power of God for the saved

1 Corinthians 1:17-18 ‘For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel – not with words of human wisdom, lest THE CROSS of Christ be emptied of its power. For the message of THE CROSS is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.’ [NIV]

We Catholics do not want the Cross of Christ be emptied of its power. Instead, we strengthen our faith through the Cross. Those who are emptying the cross of its power are the enemies of Christ and the enemies of the Church who are opposing day and night the Cross of Jesus and even calling it ‘the sign of the anti-Christ’. There is nothing further from the truth.

False prophets like Mama Eli Soriano who is now in hiding because of a Rape case involving a male former follower Daniel Veridiano even claimed on national television that Catholics are signing themselves with the sign of the Cross because they are seeing the Devil. He claims that since Catholics, especially in the Philippines, are so fond of signing themselves with the cross each time they see a Catholic Church along the road then he concludes that there is the Devil inside the Catholic Churches.

Such argument is pathetic at best. Mama Eli Soriano is simply ignorant of the fact that Catholics sign themselves with the Cross to greet the Lord Jesus our King of Kings and Lord of Lords by showing Him that we do not forget the Redemption and Salvation He preciously won for us on Calvary. We believe that the Devil is repulsed by the sign of the Cross because it reminds him also of his unexpected defeat on that day of Redemption.

5. The Crucified Lord must be lifted up and be proclaimed

John 3:14-15 ‘As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness even so must the son of Man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.’ [Numbers 21:9]

John 12:32 ‘And I, if I be lifted up, from the earth, will draw all men unto me. (cf. John 8:27)

When was the Lord Jesus lifted up for the world to see? When He was crucified on the Cross. The people of Jerusalem and the pilgrims from all over the world then present in Jerusalem to celebrate the Jewish Feasts saw the Lord bloodily yet majestically hanging on the Cross atoning for the sins of mankind like the Lamb of Sacrifice.

That moment of Glory of the Son of Man is forever enshrined in the hearts and minds of His followers and for that we proclaimed in on our lips every 3:00pm in the afternoon in prayers. We remember it especially by special fast during Friday which was the day of His Crucifixion and Death, we immortalized it in arts such as icons, mosaics, stained glass, paintings, sculptures and movies such as Jesus of Nazareth of Franco Zefferelli and The Passion of Christ of Mel Gibson depicting the Crucifixion. They were also set on stage plays and even set into music such as the Passion according to St. John and to St. Matthews by Johann Sebastian Bach.

The Catholic Church therefore is so deep and so rich in her reflection and understanding of that pivotal moment of history wherein the Lord finally reversed the curse of Adam but His absolute and total Obedience to the Father on the Cross [cf. Philippians 2:8-11].
As part of those who are glorifying Christ for His Crucifixion the Catholic Church echoes with St. Paul this powerful description of early Christian proclamation:

1 Corinthians 1:23-24 ‘but we preach CHRIST CRUCIFIED, unto the Jews a stumbling block, and unto the Greeks foolishness; But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.’

Who are the no. 1 proclaimers of the Crucified Lord? THE CATHOLICS. Nobody in this world has developed the Theology of the Cross more than the Catholic Church and our theologians, mystics, spiritual masters and doctors of the Church. We are doing it in words, in actions, in arts, in music, in literature and all aspects of our civilizations have been influenced by this form of evangelization by the Catholic Church.

7. The Crucified Lord is source of Divine Wisdom

1 Cor 2:2 ‘For I determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ, and him CRUCIFIED.’

This is what we Catholics call spiritual meditation through the Cross of Jesus.

As Christians we are to imitate St. Paul in meditating and reflecting on the Crucifixion of Jesus so that we can gain more spiritual insight and be able to grasp more the greatness of the heart of Jesus who loved us so much until death. The Cross is a means of spiritual nourishment and we gain a lot by looking and meditating on through it.

7. St. Paul in Tears for the Enemies of the Cross

Phil 3:18-19 [KJV] ‘for many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the ENEMIES of THE CROSS of Christ: whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.’

Who are the enemies of the Cross of Christ? Definitely, the enemies of the Cross of Jesus mentioned by St. Paul are not the Catholics who glory in the Cross of the Lord. We love the Cross and we proclaim the Cross. The Iglesia ni Manalo and the Dating Daan of Mama Eli Soriano instead hate the Cross so much and they hate the Catholics for loving the Cross so much.

• REFUTING ARGUMENTS ABOUT THE SIGN OF THE BEAST ON FOREHEADS [Rev 13:16-17/ 14:9]

The Prophecy of Ezekiel

Ezek 9:3-6 ‘Ang kaluwalhatian ng Diyos ng Israel ay tumaas sa mga KERUBIN na dating kinaroroonan patungo sa pintuan ng templo at tinawag ang taong nakasuot ng lino at sa kanyang tagiliran ay may hawak na sisidlan ng panulat. Sinabi sa kanya ng Panginoon, lumibot ka sa lunsod, lumibot ka sa Jerusalem at TATAKAN NG KRUS ang mga noon ng mga taong humihibik at umiiyak dala ng lahat ng kasuklam-suklam na bagay na ginagawa sa loob ng lunsod…Patayin ninyo ang matanda, binata, dalaga, bata at babae hanggang sa malipol ang lahat, subalit HUWAG NINYONG GALAWIN ANG SINO MANG MAY TATAK NA KRUS.’ [ABB-Abriol]

Ezek 9:4 [JB/ NJB] “Mark a CROSS on their foreheads”

“Trace a CROSS on their forehead” [The Community Bible – Catholic Pastoral Edition]

The Fulfillment of the Prophecy

Rev 7:3 ‘Saying, HURT NOT the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have SEALED the servants of our God IN THERE FOREHEADS.’

Rev 14:1 ‘And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with him an hundred and forty and four thousand, having HIS FATHER’S NAME WRITTEN IN THEIR FOREHEADS.’

In Ang Biblia: ‘ang apat na put apat na libong may pangalan niya (Cordero), at pangalan ng kanyang Ama, na nasusulat sa kanikaniyang NOO.’

Rev 22:4 “And they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads.” [ANG BIBLIA: At makikita nila ang kaniyang mukha; at ang kaniyang pangalan ay sasa kanilang mga noo.]

• What is the Mark being sealed on Catholics’ forehead during Baptism, every Gospel Reading in the Mass, every Ash Wednesday or every Signing of the Cross? The Name of the One and Triune God!

Mt 28:19 ‘in THE NAME OF THE FATHER, AND OF THE SON, AND OF THE HOLY SPIRIT.’

• The Cross has become a symbol of Union with Christ for the believers.

Mt 16:24 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.

Objection: The Cross puts Jesus in continuous shame!

Answer: ‘Jesus is THE LAMB SLAIN for our Redemption forever! (Rev 5:6)

Icon of the Lord’s Crucifixion

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