Is 52:13—53:12 Ps 31:2, 6, 12-13, 15-16, 17, 25 Heb 4:14-16; 5:7-9 Jn 18:1—19:42
How many gathered here today wear a Cross or a Crucifix?
Today we commemorate the death of Jesus on the Cross. Part of the reason that we venerate the cross today is that the Cross of Christ reminds us of the story of our salvation.
What is the Story of your Cross?
What is the story of your cross that you wear? Why do you wear it? Is it a nice fashionable piece of jewelry, or is their a deeper reason?
Our lives are shaped by the Cross
Our lives are shaped by the Cross – If we let them be.
Our life in the Church begins with the sign of the Cross. The cross is signed on our foreheads as we are claimed for Christ. Every time we enter into prayer we begin with the sign of the Cross.
The Story of my Tau
I wear a cross every day, and the cross I wear has a long and colorful story. It is, in a way a witness to my ongoing battle with Sin, and a reminder of who I am called to be. Before I was ordained a Deacon I used to work at a retreat center out near Akron, Colorado. And, at the end of a retreat we would give to each of the participants a little wooden cross that the Franciscans wear called a Tau. With the cross came the encouragement to wear their cross each day, as a reminder that Christ calls each of us daily to take up our crosses and to follow him.
Since my days at the retreat center I have worn my Tau Cross every day. When I get out of the shower each day, the first thing that I put on is my Tau, and I say a small prayer that we pray at the stations of the Cross. We adore you O Christ and we praise you, because by your Holy Cross you have redeemed the world.
We Adore you O Christ and we praise you…
What does it mean to carry the Cross?
This year, during lent the Church extolled us to carry our crosses each day. During lent she encourages us to battle our love for sin, and replace it with a deeper love, a greater adoration for Christ, so that we can enter with him into paradise – eternal happiness, peace and joy.
How do we show our Adoration for Christ?
There are two ways of showing Christ Adoration that I would like to share with you today – Adoration in sharing our life with Jesus, and expressing our adoration in our willingness to take up our own cross and follow him.
Adoration is sharing our lives with him.
The first way of adoration is prayer where we share the important parts of ourselves with those whom we love. This is why prayer is such an important part of our lives as Christians. Prayer is when we call upon the grace that we have from Baptism, and speak with Jesus. Prayer is time spent before the Blessed Sacrament, and especially in those few precious moments after receiving Holy Communion, when we sit or kneel quietly in our pews and enter into the depths of our heart, and share ourselves with Christ – Who suffered and died on the Cross.
The Second way of adoration is taking up the cross.
Taking up the cross requires courage. It is not an easy thing to do. Sure it is easy to get up in the morning and hang a little cross around your neck and go about your day. The challenge o the cross is to allow that moment of prayer transform your day. Taking your cross into the day means being willing to battle sin at every moment of the day. It means that when I am tempted, I call upon the power of the Cross, sometimes by touching it under my shirt and reminding myself that I am called to hear the word of God and to follow it – trusting that this way will lead to holiness, and to happiness in my life.
We adore you O Christ and we praise you…
How do we give praise to God?
Am I embarrassed to give praise to Christ in my world today? What is effective praise. Are we Christians who stand around and say “Praise you Lord Jesus” with our lips, but only when we are at Church on Sunday, and only for an hour? To give praise to God means to be willing to do the work of the Father. To correct the sinner, to feed the hungry, stand up for the oppressed. As Christians we praise Christ when people see our Good works and give praise to our heavenly Father. It is not enough for us Christians to be involved in good works, but rather we need to let people know the reason for our Good works – that we love as Christ has taught us to love by showing us his great mercy. We come to know this as we come to understand the evil of the sin that we do, and the great mercy that Christ spoke to us as He hung upon the Cross and said to us – “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do”.
Because by your Holy Cross you have redeemed the world!
What made the Cross Holy?
The sign of torture and abusive power
Up until the time of Christ the Cross was a sign of torture, humiliation, suffering and of pain. It was a warning to people everywhere not to oppose the power of the Roman Empire, because by the cross they imposed their will on you in terrible ways. It was a sign of power that had no compassion, power that did not care about the cost.
Christ transformed the Cross
Christ transformed the meaning of the Cross once and for all. He transformed the cross through His expression of love. Christ transformed the meaning of the Cross because he willingly, lovingly laid down on the Cross to enter into death – to bear for us the price of our sins so that we might enter into communion with God through his suffering.
Holiness comes through obedience and action
Holiness comes through two things, obedience and action. Christ transformed the Cross into a symbol of God’s love by His obedience to the Father’s desire that we share in communion with Him again – that the sin of Adam be washed away in the blood of His own Son. Christ listened to the will of His heavenly Father and so took action, by dying on the Cross so that we might share in His relationship with God.
Every Cross has a story to tell.
Every Cross has a story to tell – the story is about how the cross leads us to holiness, how the cross reminds us to listen to our Heavenly Father, and how the cross leads us to act on what he has called us to do – To take up our cross and follow him, so that others will see the good works that we do and give praise to our heavenly Father!
Where is the story of your cross going to take you this year?