On Monday, September 14, the Church celebrated the feast of the Exultation of the Holy Cross. I am blessed to be in a parish where the homilies are always challenging. Thank you, Fr. Tom and Fr. Joe! I thought I would share with you something from Fr. Tom’s homily on Monday.
As Catholics, when we begin to pray, it is natural for us to begin with the sign of the cross. When Fr. Tom was young, his grandmother taught his siblings and him how to make the sign of the cross. With fingers to forehead, she would say in her heavy Irish brogue, “God is not just an idea; He is not far away. He came down from heaven and you could see him in Jesus.” She would, then, move her hand to her heart and say, “We are called to take God out of our minds and bring Jesus into our hearts. And how do you know it is real?” At this point, she would move her hand from shoulder to shoulder, opening her arm in a wide, welcoming arc. “It’s the work of the Holy Spirit -- you let people in, in a new way.”
Fr. Tom goes on to say, “That is why we begin with the sign of the cross: to bring God into the real world so that you and I can receive each other in a different way.” If there is any time that we need to stop and think about how we receive each other and how we bring God into the world, it is during these challenging times of the pandemic. For many, patience is wearing thin. It reminds me of the first reading on Monday which speaks of the Israelites complaining to God and Moses: “With their patience worn out by the journey, the people complained against God and Moses…” (Numbers 21:4-5). Sound familiar?
We do have choices. We can be like the serpents with “biting and hurtful” words and actions to one another. Or, we can celebrate the Triumph of the Cross and be the truth that the cross teaches: “Love is stronger than death!” Believe me, this takes practice, but we can’t give up. Jesus teaches us a new way to live. We need to keep our eyes fixed on the Triumph of the Cross and greet each day with an open heart.
The challenge is to live the Triumph of the Cross which means to bring God out of our minds into the real world so that you and I can receive each other in a different way. During this week, take time to look at a cross you may have in your home or wear as a piece of jewelry. Pray this simple prayer: “Jesus, I trust in you; I trust in this way; raise up my life.”
May your week be a time of celebrating the Triumph of the Cross.
Till next week,
P.S. If you would like to hear Fr. Tom’s homily and see him demonstrate his grandmother’s important lesson about the sign of the cross, click here to go to the Saints Philip and James Church’s Facebook page. The homily begins at the 16:25 mark in the video. Have a great week!