Exultation of the Holy Cross - Weekday Homily Video
Today, we commemorate several events central to our salvation on this Feast of the Exultation of the Holy Cross. The first is the finding of the true cross by Emperor Constantine’s mother, Helen; next, there is the dedication of the original Church of the Holy Sepulchre in 355 and, most significantly, Jesus’ victory over death by His crucifixion and resurrection. Locally, it is the patronal feast of the Archdiocese of Boston, and closer to home, my parent's wedding anniversary.
Saint Cyril spoke of the cross as setting free all who were slaves to sin and the wood upon which Jesus mounted to redeem all humanity. As I read and prayed over today’s first reading, a question arose: have you ever found yourself worn out by the journey? It could be a literal journey like encountering a series of flight delays extending over many hours, or it could be understood metaphorically as a challenging portion of your life.
We Need a Savior
The more I read about the Israelites, the more I identify with their feelings, and the more I realize how much we need a Savior. Once again, we hear how our ancestors in the faith complained to God and Moses in a way that doubted their care for them. In response to their sin, God punished them by sending serpents, and many of the people died. Sin led to punishment, but the story doesn’t end there. The people realize their error, repent, and go to Moses, asking him to pray to God to remove the danger of death.
Moses prays to God, and in love, God provides the antidote. The bronze serpent is the precursor to Jesus, Our Savior. The pole upon which the serpent is mounted comes before the wood of the Cross upon which Jesus was nailed. There is also the poison of snake venom, which mirrors the poison of sin. In each case, God provides the cure. I think, at times, we all get worn down from the journey. And then we are more susceptible to the temptation to doubt God’s care for us, even to the point of seeking comfort or a way to cope through actions that go against God’s way, or in other words, sin.
A Reason for Hope
Today's message is that despite our limitations, desperate thoughts, and actions, God offers us a reason for hope. Hope not just for ourselves but for our family members, even those who have really been worn down by life. We no longer have to go to a solitary figure such as Moses to find forgiveness from God. Jesus has given us the Sacrament of Confession, where through the Holy Spirit and the priest acting in the person of Christ, we can be reconciled with God and begin again.
If we remember nothing else today, let the Gospel of John sink deeply into our hearts and minds, “For God so loved the world that He gave his only Son so that everyone who believes in Him might not perish but might have eternal life.” And, should you fear God, remember these words too, “For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.”
My brothers and sisters, it is through the Cross of Jesus that we are saved. Let us always keep our eyes upon Him and His Holy Cross. That’s where we’ll find the hope and strength to follow Him every day!
- Father David's inspirational homily was recorded live during Mass at the Father Peyton Center this morning. Please view the video on our Facebook page. (You don't need a Facebook account to view.)
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About Father David Marcham
Reverend David S. Marcham is the Vice Postulator for the Cause of Venerable Patrick Peyton, and Director of the Father Peyton Guild, whose members pray for Father Peyton’s beatification and spread his message of the importance of Family Prayer. Prior to becoming a seminarian, Father David was a physical therapist and clinical instructor, serving hospital inpatients and outpatients throughout the greater Boston area for eleven years. In 1998 he heard the call to priesthood and was ordained in the Archdiocese of Boston in 2005. Father David grew up in Quincy, MA, and has fond memories of playing soccer, tennis and running track. You’re never without a friend when Father David is around, as he welcomes everyone into his circle with a smile on his face!