Exaltation of the Holy Cross at the Holy Sepulcher

The procession of the Franciscans, led by the kawas that beat the cobblestones of the old town, made its way to the Holy Sepulcher on Monday, September 14, for the feast of Exaltation of the Holy Cross.

The mass took place on Calvary, the same place where Jesus was crucified. Many concelebrating priests were present, as well as pilgrims and parishioners from Jerusalem. Br. Dobromir Jasztal presided over the celebration. His homily stressed the apparent contradiction in the name of the feast: How can we exalt the cross, a terrible symbol of suffering and shameful death? The answer can be found in its meaning: “The Cross has always been seen in the Church as the altar on which the Son of God completed the salvation of the world.” However the Custodial Vicar insisted: “In the desert of our lives, God does not take away sin and suffering, but in his merciful love he forgives, thus restoring our dignity as children saved by His Son, and he gives a meaning to the same suffering.” If we wish to understand the meaning of suffering, we must look at the mystery of Christ’s death for our sakes. Our pain and our crosses are not signs of a curse but they are rather the expression the fact that we are Jesus’ apostles. Unfortunately, concluded Br. Dobromir, no book teaches us how to carry our cross. The only way to learn is to carry it while thinking about Jesus’ life and his death on the cross: He is the way, the truth and the life.

The relic of the Holy Cross was then carried in a procession to the altar of the apparition to Mary Magdalene where the faithful were able to venerate it.

H. M.

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