09/30/2018 - "THE TRUE CROSS OF JESUS: ....."

THE TRUE CROSS OF JESUS:

A MANIFESTATION OF THE POWER, GOODNESS, AND MERCY OF GOD!

In the year 326, St. Helena, the mother of the Emperor, Constantine, was inspired by our Lord to make a pilgrimage to Jerusalem to find the True Cross. Upon arrival in Jerusalem, and always with our Lord’s guidance, they began to dig where they believed the True Cross would be found. They ended up finding three crosses and thus rose the dilemma: which one belonged to our Savior? Inspired by our Lord, they decided to touch the three crosses to a sick woman who was near death. When the True Cross touched her, she was immediately healed and restored to health! This discovery was of the utmost importance for it shows many things! First, we can know with historical certitude that the Son of God was truly put to death on the Cross for our salvation. Jesus truly bore our sins on the Cross! Our Father truly does love us so much that He has given us His Son! Secondly, it shows the amazing power of the Cross of Jesus. Let me say more about that.

The Cross of Jesus is a manifestation of the power, goodness, and mercy of God. Our life on earth is lived in hostile territory. There is a will, that of the evil one, that has opposed itself to God. The evil one continues to use the law, sin, and death to shackle us with chains of fear. Jesus, by suffering all that the evil one could bring against Him on our behalf and on account of our sins, destroyed the evil one’s death grip on our lives when He rose victoriously from the grave! Jesus is alive! He has trampled upon death! In Jesus, and in Jesus alone, our sins can be forgiven and wiped away. Jesus restores our dignity of being in the image and likeness of God, of being His very children!

And every Sunday, you and I are present there on Golgotha, on Good Friday, when Jesus accomplished this great victory by suffering in our place, suffering all the consequences of our sins. Not only do we witness His Sacrifice, but we are called to participate in His victory by the reception of His Most Holy Body and Blood!

Last year, we began our homily series, the Love of Christ urges us on in which we treated five pillars of a lived faith in Jesus: strong reliance on daily prayer, immersed in Scripture, nourished by the seven Sacraments, love of brethren, and go forth. The inspirational theme of the series was to help you build bridges to connect your experience in Church to your daily life. The light, mercy, power, and love of God you experience in Church has the power to transform your entire life. Your reception of Jesus’ Body and Blood itself is a call for you to live your life for Jesus! How? Let’s take a brief look at the first pillar, strong reliance on daily prayer.

OUR FATHER LOVES TO HEAR YOUR VOICE!

At the moment of your baptism, you became a child of the living God! You have a power within you that at any moment of any day, you can lift your eyes to heaven, call upon the Lord, and experience His love, presence, power and protection. Mother Church reminds us of this call: you are called to pray at all times, without ceasing, that is, to live your life in the presence of the living God! Yet, as Mother Church teaches us: we will never arrive at the goal of praying at all times unless we make the decision to pray at determined times every day. Let me share with you Mother Church’s teaching about the importance of Morning Prayer. Although this text is about one of the Liturgy of the Hours, the teaching is valid for prayer that takes place in the morning:

“As is clear from many of the elements that make it up, Morning Prayer is intended and arranged to sanctify the morning. St. Basil the Great gives an excellent description of this character in these words: "It is said in the morning in order that the first stirrings of our mind and will may be consecrated to God and that we may take nothing in hand until we have been gladdened by the thought of God, as it is written: 'I was mindful of God and was glad' (Ps 77:4), or set our bodies to any task before we do what has been said: 'I will pray to you, Lord, you will hear my voice in the morning; I will stand before you in the morning and gaze on you' (Ps 5:4-5)."

We’ve all had the experience of waking up grumpy and usually finishing our day grumpy, or waking up angry, sad, or confused. Mother Church is teaching us that if we begin our day in the Lord’s presence through prayer, and allow Him to sanctify our morning, our whole day will be sanctified. In the weeks and months to come, I so desire to help teach you different ways to engage in Morning Prayer, so please stay tuned. For now, a brief word: give the Lord at least 15 minutes at the start of every day. Have the Bible in your hands. Read a few verses from the Gospel, or pray a psalm. Then speak to the Lord about your heart and about your day: if you hate your job, or hate going to school, if you are afraid or grumpy, whatever it might be, speak to Him about it and then prayerfully listen and trust!

We come today with much on our mind Lord. Gently ease it from our hands, heart and thoughts so we can focus on you and your goodness. Help keep us focused and remember to pray for each other as well.

Fr. Michael