Pastor’s Reflection for September 11, 2016
This Wednesday the Church will celebrate the feast of the Exaltation of the Cross. The tree of knowledge in the Garden, whose fruit Adam and Eve ate, brought death due to their disobedience. The tree on the hill of Calvary which Jesus took for the penalty of our sins out of obedience, brought us life. The cross is not a sign of death and defeat but rather a symbol of new life. Jesus has indeed been lifted up on the cross and the entire world has been saved. As we read in John’s Gospel, Jesus did not come to condemn the world but to save it. He loved the world so much that He gave His life for us. He paid the penalty of our sins, satisfying the justice of God and we in turn receive His mercy.
The sacrifice of the cross is what we make present on our altar at Mass. We represent the sacrifice of Calvary as the bread and wine which becomes His Body and Blood. We can say that we are at Calvary as we offer the Eucharistic sacrifice. We eat from the tree of life to nurture our spirits on our journey to the kingdom of heaven.
The cross is also present when we go to the Sacrament of Reconciliation to confess our sins. Our sins go to the cross where Jesus takes our sins as His own, to pay the penalty which is death. We are washed clean by the blood He shed on the cross. Thus, when we leave the confessional, we are washed clean, our sins are forgiven and we begin anew.
Because of its effect on us, we celebrate the cross as the vehicle that brought us salvation. The cross is in the shape of a plus sign. It is a sign of God’s merciful love. It is the tree whose fruit is the very life of Jesus. As we say on Good Friday, “we adore You O Christ and we bless You for by Your holy cross, You have redeemed the world.”
Many Catholics will not celebrate this great feast for it is not a holy day. There are many feasts that are celebrated in our daily liturgical season. We celebrate the feasts of many of the great saints – St. Francis, St. Peter, St. Monica, St. Theresa and many others. This is one of the benefits of going to daily Mass. We are exposed to many of the different feasts of the Church which we do not get to celebrate at our Sunday liturgies. I ask that you consider daily Mass as often as you can as one of your spiritual activities. You hear from the Scriptures and receive the Body and Blood of Jesus as daily food. The daily Mass is a simple celebration, taking less time then a sitcom on TV. I applaud many of our parishioners who have made daily Mass a part of their spiritual life.
This weekend we remember the tragedy of September 11. We ask the Lord to protect this land from all evil and we pray for all who still suffer from that horrific event.
I will be available for confessions this week on Thursday, September 15, from 7:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
May Jesus continue to shepherd you in all of your needs.
God love you,