Often I hear: "My faith is between God and me." “My faith is private.” “My faith isn't worn on my sleeve.” “I believe in spending time with God in secret.” Jesus certainly did spend time alone with His Father. He went away to commune with his Father often. However, there is another side to our faith. In today’s gospel, Jesus compares sharing our faith with placing our light on a lampstand (Luke 8:16-18).
Today, we celebrate the feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross. A tradition relates that Helen, mother of the first Christian Roman emperor, Constantine the Great, discovered the three crosses on which Christ and the two criminals had been crucified near Golgotha. Bishop Makarios identified the true Cross of Christ as the one whose touch immediately returned a dying woman to perfect health.
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There are limits and limitations to everything. From the beginning of our lives, we are fettered and framed. What are the fetters and frames? Upon birth, as a human being, as a female or male, in a particular geographic territory, language group, religion, caste, class, or family, certain traits are automatically imposed and engraved in our personality. Some people are proud to belong to a specific category, while others lament their misfortunes.
The words of a popular song by Lucky Dube echo our celebration today, "If you stand for the truth, you will always stand alone." Speaking the truth to those in authority over us, to those who are more powerful than us, comes with a price.
Sometimes, after hearing someone’s confession, I’ll offer them the penance of sitting quietly, preferably before the Blessed Sacrament, with Rosary in hand, moving from bead to bead through all the decades, silently repeating, “Jesus, I trust in You.”
It is now summertime in the Northern Hemisphere. I, like billions of human beings, love summertime. It can be a time of rest, vacation, time for family. Let it not be merely a superficial time, but rather true recreation: re-creation – for drinking from deep well springs that return us to what life is really about, that renew us and give us life. That can happen in simple, beautiful ways.