Very short sermon for the 3 hour liturgy. The whole liturgy is a sermon in action.
In the name of the +Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen
Today a special grace flows through the Church. Today the mystery of the cross shines out. Today, the cross, not the Eucharist, is the highpoint, the focus of our celebration/Our thoughts and prayers are focused on the cross. We adore, worship and venerate the cross by which the world was saved. We will go forward today to venerate the cross. We will be invited to kiss the figure of Christ. In this gesture we show our love and our dependence on him.
The Church invites us to take on the Paschal fast, the Easter fast. Our fast is not of penance but of anticipation. We are like a bride or bridegroom fasting before the wedding celebration. This is a fast of excitement, of anticipation. We are so filled with joy and expectation that we have lost our appetite. Those who can, fast from work and seek to retreat and be still on this most solemn and holy day. Today we are invited to enter the mystery of Christ’s dying on the cross and rising, the mystery of our baptism.
St John of the Cross said, ‘One who does not seek the cross of Jesus is not seeking the glory of Christ’
For Jesus, his glory was his cross. For him his death was not defeat but victory; death was not the end but the beginning. The cross, truly an image of brutality, violence and of man’s inhumanity, has become the sign of peace and love. The cross, an image of suffering, anguish and rejection, is the key to healing and restoration. The cross, an image of death and destruction, has become the gateway for us all into joy, life and life to the full (John 10:10).
We have before us today a wonderful opportunity to grow in faith. To grasp more fully, more completely and more securely the true meaning of the cross. In the cross we see three things: first, the depth of our fall and need of redemption; second, the depth of God’s love; and third, the only way of salvation.