Skip to comments.Sign of the Cross, Sign of All Time (User's Guide to Sunday)
Posted on 09/13/2009 2:46:34 PM PDT by NYer
(In this weekly column, Tom and April Hoopes share family-friendly ways of observing the liturgical year and celebrating the Sunday readings.)
Sept. 13 is the 24th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B, Cycle I).
Monday, Sept. 14, is the Triumph of the Cross — a great day to take the whole family to Mass. The feast recalls the value of the cross in our lives — it originally marked the discovery of the true cross by St. Helena in the Holy Land. Take the opportunity to remind your children — and yourself — why we make the Sign of the Cross.
1. It reminds us that we were baptized into the Holy Trinity and now live “in” the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
2. It acknowledges that Christ now “owns” us — because of the cross.
You might also share tips to making the Sign of the Cross more meaningful.
1. It teaches us how we are to love God: with all our mind (we point to our head), with all our heart (we point to our heart) and with our whole strength (we point to both sides of our torso).
2. Share Pope Benedict XVI’s words: “The new weapon that Jesus puts in our hands is the cross, a sign of reconciliation, a sign of the love that is stronger than death. Every time we make the Sign of the Cross, we must remember not to meet injustice with injustice, violence with violence; we must remember that we can conquer evil only with good, and never by repaying evil with evil.”
Sept. 15 is Our Lady of Sorrows. The sufferings of Mary came from the loss of her Son. Many families remember their losses by miscarriage at Mass today. We do.
Isaiah 50:4-9; Psalm 116: 1-6, 8-9; James 2:14-18; Mark 8:27-35
Today’s readings point to one of the central paradoxes of Christianity, best summed up by Christ himself in the Gospel: “For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and that of the Gospel will save it.”
It starts when Christ asks the apostles, “Who do people say that I am?”
They all think he is merely human, a prophet — but Peter thinks much more of him. He is the Christ. In Matthew, he adds, “the Son of the living God.”
Christ acknowledges that Peter is right — but then immediately tests him by announcing that he must suffer and be put to death. Peter fails the test. He insists that Christ should not suffer such a fate.
Though he may know who Christ is, he hasn’t abandoned himself to his will. He is “thinking not as God does, but as human beings do.”
“Thinking as God does” — abandoning oneself to God’s will — is not easy. The Suffering Servant in the reading from Isaiah must trust God in the face of terrible persecution. The Psalmist learned how to trust God only by facing a near-total loss. The second reading even warns against a false sense of abandonment: It demands that we show our faith with deeds, not just words.
The French Catholic poet Charles Peguy, in his poem “Abandonment,” imagines God complaining about people who don’t sleep because they get too caught up in their thoughts and worries. God argues that he always gives them their daily bread so they ought to stop worrying and trust him.
“He who abandons himself, I love. He who does not abandon himself, I don’t love,” he says. “That’s simple enough.”
Then he states the paradox: “He who abandons himself does not abandon himself, and he is the only one who does not abandon himself.”
To fail to trust God means you must always be picking at and fussing over your life, putting you front and center in your thoughts.
To trust God means to hand your life over and allow it to be rich and full, with God front and center in your thoughts. That’s the better way to live.
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Obama Says A Baby Is A Punishment
Today's feast is one of the greatest feasts of the Eastern Churches. It is frequently mentioned in ecclesiastical writings and always has as its object the triumph of Christ, his resurrection, and the veneration of the holy cross, the sign of his victory over death. The feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross was first instituted in order to commemorate the dedication of the Church of the Resurrection on September 13, 335. The Emperor Constantine built this church and the one in Bethlehem and theyare both in existence today. The Church of the Resurrection had five naves and in the interior a circular structure covered by a dome which protected the sanctuary of the sepulchre or tomb of Christ. The date of September 13 was chosen in order to supplant the pagan feast of the Temple of Jupiter in Rome.
The second historical event which is the source of our present feast was the return of the holy cross to Jerusalem under Emperor Heraclius. The wood of the cross had been preserved in the Church of the Resurrection until May 4, 614, when the Persians captured Jerusalem, burned the Church of the Resurrection and carried off the cross. After the victory of Emperor Heraclius over the Persians, the cross was returned to Jerusalem on September 14, 628. It is said that the Emperor, dressed in his royal vestments, carried the cross through the streets of Jerusalem. He was stopped by the Patriarch who demanded that he remove his splendid vestments in order to become more like the scorned Christ. The Emperor agreed and walked through the streets barefooted. A crowd of the faithful accompanied him and prostrated before the holy cross.
On this day, the Maronite Catholic Church celebrates the Rite of the Cross which is a service of adoration of the cross, the sign of our salvation. This feast which comes at the end of the annual liturgical cycle, is also directed toward the second coming of Christ, who carries his cross of light and triumph. It is this theme which is the object of the readings and prayers of the seven weeks which follow and which close the liturgical year. Adoration and honor to the cross of our Savior! Glory and praise to Christ our God, forever! Amen!
- The message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
- For it is written: "I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the learning of the learned I will set aside."
- Where is the wise one? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made the wisdom of the world foolish?
- 9 For since in the wisdom of God the world did not come to know God through wisdom, it was the will of God through the foolishness of the proclamation to save those who have faith.
- For Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom,
- but we proclaim Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles,
- but to those who are called, Jews and Greeks alike, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.
- For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.
- 11 Now there were some Greeks 12 among those who had come up to worship at the feast.
- 13 They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and asked him, "Sir, we would like to see Jesus."
- Philip went and told Andrew; then Andrew and Philip went and told Jesus.
- 14 Jesus answered them, "The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.
- 15 Amen, amen, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat; but if it dies, it produces much fruit.
- Whoever loves his life 16 loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will preserve it for eternal life.
- Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there also will my servant be. The Father will honor whoever serves me.
- "I am troubled 17 now. Yet what should I say? 'Father, save me from this hour'? But it was for this purpose that I came to this hour.
- Father, glorify your name." Then a voice came from heaven, "I have glorified it and will glorify it again."
- The crowd there heard it and said it was thunder; but others said, "An angel has spoken to him."
- Jesus answered and said, "This voice did not come for my sake but for yours.
- Now is the time of judgment on this world; now the ruler of this world 18 will be driven out.
- And when I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw everyone to myself."
We learned a new song for the Triumph of the Cross but didn’t have a chance to use it today. We can do it next week - it’s not like the Cross is ever an irrelevant theme.
So where IS the Church of the Resurrection?
That is the one in Jerusalem.
The vineyard of the finest most celebrated red wine in the world has this stone cross overlooking it.