Sign of the Cross

Our Lady of Florida, Passionists Retreat House Chapel

Greetings on this the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross
Readings: Nm 21:4b-9; PS 78:1bc-2, 34-35, 36-37, 38; Phil 2:6-11; Jn 3:13-17
Notes: I think, an opinion, that Christians of other traditions should have these distinct liturgies added to their practices of faith (if they don’t have already).

  • Sign of the Cross – In the Name of …
  • Veneration of the Cross – the symbol of salvation.
  • Good Friday – passion of Jesus and crucifixion.
  • Ash Wednesday – need for restoration.

They are power expressive moments in the life of a Christian.
These liturgies allow us to get close to Jesus in a communal and tactile way.

A Franciscan reference (I quote them a lot lately)
The cross is today the universal image of Christian belief. Countless generations of artists have turned it into a thing of beauty to be carried in procession or worn as jewelry. To the eyes of the first Christians, it had no beauty. It stood outside too many city walls, decorated only with decaying corpses, as a threat to anyone who defied Rome’s authority—including Christians who refused sacrifice to Roman gods. Although believers spoke of the cross as the instrument of salvation, it seldom appeared in Christian art unless disguised as an anchor or the Chi-Rho until after Constantine’s edict of toleration
. https://www.franciscanmedia.org/saint-of-the-day/exaltation-of-the-holy-cross

First reading
The people suffered from their lack of faith.
The manna and the water from the flinty rock was not enough for them.
They complained and the consequence was that seraph serpents were able to inflict harm.

Repenting, they asked for relief.

Moses, by the Lord’s direction, made a pole with a seraph of bronze.
When the people gazed upon it, they were healed, their faith reinforced.

This divine action prefigures the divine action of Jesus upon the cross.

Responsorial Psalm
Do not forget the works of the Lord!
But he, being merciful, forgave their sin
and destroyed them not;
Often he turned back his anger
and let none of his wrath be roused.

Second reading
The second reading today is thought to be a Christian hymn that Paul is referencing.
A song that the reader would know and easily enter into and contemplate its meaning and purpose.

Humiliation of Christ

  • Not exercise his equality with God.
  • Emptied himself.
  • A slave.
  • A human.
  • Humbly accepting death, even on a cross.

Exhaultation of Christ

  • God greatly exalted him.
  • His name above any other name.
  • All should kneel before him.
  • All should confess his Lordship.
  • All should confess Jesus is the glory of God.

Alleluia Verse
We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you,
because by your Cross you have redeemed the world.

Gospel Portion
We venerate the cross because it is God’s chosen way to resolve our need for salvation.

  • The cross is a real instrument of death and a disgraceful way to die.
  • The cross is used as a method of control upon those who witness the death.
  • The cross is painful and torturous penalty contrasted with beheading.

But it is the cross, the worst we could use, becomes the sign and instrument of Salvation.

  • It is personal, the holy Son of God.
  • It was tactile.
  • It was God most present in our world, the closeness of the divine to the suffering of sin.

We venerate the cross every day.
We recall the trinitarian God who reveals himself for us.

Tactile Liturgy

We cross ourselves with our hand and say: (head, heart, left shoulder, right shoulder)

In the Name of the Father,
And of the Son,
And of the Holy Spirit.

Amen.

In that act we recall:

  • the person of Jesus
  • his cross
  • his crucifixion
  • the Trinitarian God
  • the salvation of souls

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry

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