The Cross, Principle of Resurrection

Saturday, September 14, 9:00 AM. The Franciscan friars’ procession leaves Saint Savior Monastery for the Basilica of the Holy Sepulcher to celebrate the feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross. From the Chapel of the Apparition to Mary Magdalene, they climb to Cavalry, where the faithful are already waiting. “To enter into the riches of God’s wisdom,” said Saint John of the Cross, “one must enter by the door; this door is the cross.” A synthesis of the Paschal mystery, this “door” where Jesus invites us to meet him, whose wood has been venerated for almost 1700 years, brings together Christians from the Holy Land and pilgrims from the world over on this day every year. The day also commemorates the Liberation of the Holy Cross, reclaimed from the Persians in 628.

Holy Eucharist was celebrated by the new custodial vicar, Fra Dobromir Jasztal (see article). In his homily, Fra Dobromir emphasized that the church, like the New Testament, is completely penetrated by the mystery of the Cross: symbol of “Christ’s most profound humiliation”, it is also “the principle of his resurrection”. It is by the Cross that Jesus was raised up. Therefore, it too is exalted.

Fra Dobromir exhorted the assembly to choose the way of arduous faith to be, in turn, raised up by the Cross. But this faith is not simply accepting the crucifixion, because that is a fact that does not require faith to be recognized. “What is necessary is to believe in everything that Jesus brought about through the Cross.” Faith must be interpreted through Christian life; that is, by the imitation of Christ: “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you” (Luke 6:39). The Cross was the Father’s will to which Jesus was faithful to raise us up with him. To pardon others as he pardoned. To love as he loved. The Cross is the sum of this Word of love and pardon. To imitate Christ is to be “stripped of oneself”. Carrying the cross is to follow his example. By his crucifixion he “entered into the Glory of the Father”, as St. Paul reminds us in his Letter to the Philippians. He is the Lord to whom the Christian should consecrate his life.

To conclude his homily, Fra Dobromir chose to quote the words of Pope Francis the day after his election: “I would like that all of us, after these days of grace, might have the courage – the courage – to walk in the presence of the Lord, with the Cross of the Lord: to build the Church on the Blood of the Lord, which is shed on the Cross, and to profess the one glory, Christ Crucified. In this way, the Church will go forward.”

After the Mass, the procession, chanting the Vexilla regis, went to the altar of the Apparition to Mary Magdalene, where the faithful venerated a relic of the True Cross and received the final blessing.

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Articles from previous years:

2012: Exaltation of the Cross
2011: In the heart of every Christian: the Holy Cross raises us towards God
2010: The attraction of the wood of the True Cross

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