Homily – Taking up our Cross

Homily of the Sunday of the Cross

From Bishop Nicholas (DOMSE Newsletter):

The Church has placed the Cross in the middle of Great and Holy Lent, the third Sunday of the Fast, for a very specific reason! 

The Church has placed the Cross in the middle of Great and Holy Lent, the third Sunday of the Fast, for a very specific reason!  By the third Sunday of the Fast, most of us have been abstaining from eating prescribed sumptuous foods for three weeks, participating in many services each week at inconvenient times of the day after having worked long hours, expanding our prayer rules, and reading spiritual books. Having done ascetical deeds, some of us are weary, tired, and may feel unsettled.

Prior to Christ being crucified, the cross was a sign of disobedience, a sign of unlawful activity, a sign of damnation, and a sign of condemnation. Thieves and criminals died on the cross so that society was “cleansed.” Jesus was considered one of those unlawful people despite the fact He had healed the sick, raised the dead, and performed miracles that had not been done by anyone else prior to His incarnation. He did not fit their earthly expectations with His divine plan! Therefore, He was crucified.

But after His resurrection, the Disciples, who effectively became apostles at Pentecost (Acts 2:14-42), began to change the common perception of the Cross as they began preaching the resurrected Jesus Christ. Having received the Holy Spirit, Peter’s sermon (Acts 2:14-39) was emotionally moving and thought-provoking to the crowds. Thousands were baptized and started following Christ and His teachings through the words of the Apostles. The faithful’s view of the Cross began to change from a condemnation interpretation to a salvational reality, from a discouraging truth to an encouraging certainty, from a despair mentality to a hope mindset, and from a life destroying event to a life-giving actuality.

Such a change in demeanor toward the Cross urged the Church to utilize its power to inspire the faithful to take up the whole armor of God that they may be able to withstand in the evil day (Ephesians 6:13). That is why the Feast of the Cross has been celebrated on the third Sunday of Great and Holy Lent.

May God bless you and may the Holy Trinity protect you all!
+ Bishop Nicholas

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