September 14, 2014
From your Pastor,
I want to take this opportunity to thank Jim “Tubby” Maduri and his crew for all the work that they have done on the main doors of the church. I also want to publicly thank “Tubby” Maduri for spearheading the Christian Youth Corps’ work in our parish cemetery. They did a wonderful job of cleaning up and resetting tombstones in a specific area.
As we celebrate the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross, this Sunday, we have somehow lost the beauty for which it stands? Have we reduced it to a piece of jewelry that we wear around our neck and/or dangling from our ears? Has it lost is sacredness? The cross stands both as a mystery and a paradox. Who would have thought that such a painful, humiliating death would bring about our salvation? Even the Apostles and the first followers struggled to understand this mystery. They almost had given up on Jesus until He appeared to them.
What should the Cross of Christ mean to us? What does it still hold for us? All of us may be guilty of treating it as a trinket at one time or another. We can make the sign of the cross three times in .5 seconds without understanding its importance. Why do we make the sign of the Cross every time that we start and end our prayers? Why do we dip our hands into the holy water font as we enter the church and bless ourselves in the sign of the Cross? Why do we start and end our Mass with the sign of the cross? It is simply because it is through the Cross of Christ that we have been saved. We owe everything to Jesus because of this simple act. In the act of embracing the wood of the Cross, He showed His love for His Father, who asked him to embrace the cross and His love for us by the embrace.
I would like to share with you a description of a painting that I love; it was done by El Greco. It shows Jesus carrying His Cross, but unlike many other artists, he is not burdened by the Cross. El Greco paints Jesus standing erect and as if He were hugging the Cross; not as an instrument of torture, but as an instrument of Love, and an instrument of our redemption. Let us then always be careful how we display the cross and remember its significance.
I would be amiss if I did not mention the senseless killing of the American journalists by the ISIS. Let us pray for these journalists and their families. But more especially pray that those who proposed the deadly act and their followers stop the brutality and senseless murders. In their philosophy we see how the extreme thoughts of religion can do more harm than good. God never intended faith/religion to be used this way. At the same time we have to look at ourselves and see if we may be harboring such thoughts and remove them.
Just one more thought on the Cross, since it is the feast that we celebrate today. It is taken from the Letter of Saint Paul First Corinthians chapter one verse eighteen: “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.”
Have a great week and God bless you.