The Feast of the Cross

September 14, 2016

Dear Friends,

Blessings to all on this Great Feast of the Elevation of the Holy Cross! I was thankful to see so many of you gathered with Bishop Anthony last night as he presided over the Divine Liturgy at Holy Cross, in Dorr. His Grace shared such inspiring words in his homily, and while I can’t do his words justice, I want to share them as best as I can.

The Gospel for the Feast is the account of our Lord’s Crucifixion, as recorded in St. John’s Gospel. Sayidna Anthony said that our Lord needed three things to accomplish our salvation on the Cross:

  • Obedience to His Father, Who sent Jesus here to save us
  • Love for all of humanity, whom He came to save
  • Willingness to suffer, in order to accomplish what He came here to do

It took Jesus having all three to offer us the salvation we have in Him, through His life-giving death. It took enduring Great and Holy Friday in order to bring us the new life given on Pascha Sunday.

Bishop Anthony then reflected how in our own lives, we want to get to our own resurrection, and all the other blessings that come from any worthy victory or success. But all of them require the same qualities that Jesus had. If it took Jesus’ Friday experience to bring Him to His Sunday victory, we too must endure our “Fridays,” whatever that may mean for each of us, in order to have our “Sunday” victories. The beauty of this Feast is that now we know how to get there, or just as importantly, how to change what we’re doing that has been causing us to fail. And let’s face it: all three required qualities are a challenge for us.

In a world where we can decide so many things for ourselves, our willingness to be obedient to God isn’t always strong. Because we so often focus on ourselves, to act in love—especially when it costs us something—seems so hard. And because the easy way is almost always open to us, choosing to suffer instead can seem out of reach. But these aren’t just good things to do. They are the required “Friday” experiences which we need to get to “Sunday.”

May the love that Christ shows us from His Friday experience move and inspire us to endure our own Fridays in order to get all the Sundays He has in store for us!