Ash Wednesday, February 26, 2020
Some years ago, I made my first visit to Holy Cross Monastery, a community of Episcopal brothers in upstate New York. I was interested to see, carved over the main entrance to the old stone monastery, these words: “Crux est mundi medicina”, Latin for “the cross is the medicine of the world”.
I was struck by this statement, one I had never heard before. But upon reflection, I thought of Jesus’s words in a passage of Matthew found a few chapters further on from today’s reading: “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but rather those who are sick.” What sickness was Jesus referring to here? Jesus said further: “I have come to call not the righteous but sinners.” (Mt 9:12-13) In other words, the sickness Jesus came to treat is human sinfulness. Thus, as the words at Holy Cross state, Jesus is the mundi medicina, the medicine of the world, our Physician of Souls.