Homily for the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross
Theme: THE HOLY CROSS DEFINES YOU, EMBRACE IT
By: Rev. Fr. Jacob Aondover ATSU
Homily for Monday September 14 2020
FEAST OF THE EXALTATION OF THE HOLY CROSS
READINGS: NUMBERS 21:4b-9, PSALM 78, PHILIPPIANS 2:6-11, JOHN 3:13-17
Beloved friends, today, I invite you to enthrone the Sacred Cross of Christ, the Crucifix on your heart, in your home, work place and EVERYWHERE. And may we, saved by the Cross, be by Christ’s right hand on judgment day like the repentant thief that was crucified with him. Amen. Today’s feast celebrates the Holy Cross as the instrument of our salvation. This instrument of torture, designed to degrade the worst of criminals, became the life-giving tree that reversed Adam’s Original Sin when he ate from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. We celebrate therefore, the power of God that saved us in his Son through the Tree (1Cor. 1:18).
Why would Christians continue to look to the Cross even after Jesus’resurrection? Jesus’ statement in Luke 9:23: “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me” is answer enough. The point of taking up our own cross is not simply self-sacrifice; in doing so, we also unite ourselves to the sacrifice of Christ on His Cross. When we participate in the Mass, the Cross is there, too. The “unbloody sacrifice” offered on the altar is the re-presentation of Christ’s Sacrifice on the Cross. When we receive the Sacrament of Holy Communion, we do not simply unite ourselves to Christ; we nail ourselves to the Cross, dying with Christ so that we might rise with Him.
“For the Jews require signs, and the Greeks seek after wisdom: But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews indeed a stumbling block, and unto the Gentiles foolishness…” (1Cor.1:22-23). Today, more than ever, non-Christians see the Cross as foolishness. What kind of Saviour triumphs through death? For Christians, however, the Cross is the crossroad of history and the Tree of Life. CHRISTIANITY WITHOUT THE CROSS IS MEANINGLESS: Only by uniting ourselves to Christ’s Sacrifice on the Cross can we gain eternal life. The cross is a sign of suffering, a sign of human cruelty at its worst. But by Christ’s love shown in the Paschal Mystery, it has become the sign of triumph and victory, the sign of God, who is love itself. As foreshadowed in Numbers 21:4b-9 where the fiery serpent was lifted up and all who looked onto it were saved from the venom of the snake bits, the Cross of Christ signifies our victory, our glory; it is indeed our strength and life, because our salvation is a consequence of Jesus’ death on the Cross.
Looking intently upon it therefore, we are sure of being saved from the venomous bites of: sin, corruption, evil influences, suffering; pains of various kinds and to say the least, we are sure to be saved from the venom of this vice stricken world. Believers have always looked to the cross in times of suffering. The cross does not explain pain and misery. It does not give us any easy answers. But it does help us to see our lives united with Christ’s. This feast also reminds us of the triumphal sign of the Cross at the last judgment “…as Moses lifted up the serpent…so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life” (Jn. 3:14-15).
We often make the Sign of the Cross over ourselves. We make it before prayer to help fix our minds and hearts on God. We make it after prayer, hoping to stay close to God. In trials and temptations, the cross is a sign of strength and protection. The cross is the sign of the fullness of life that is ours. At Baptism, too, the Sign of the Cross is used; the priest, parents, and godparents make the sign on the forehead of the child. A sign made on the forehead is a sign of belonging. By the Sign of the Cross in Baptism, Jesus takes us as his own in a unique way. Today, let us look to the cross often. Let us make the Sign of the Cross and realize we bring our whole selves to God our minds, souls, bodies, wills, thoughts, hearts everything we are and will become.
FEED AND CATER FOR THE POOR