Twenty-Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Today we celebrate a very special feast, the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, it is a feast because it is a demand that we recognize that this symbol of death and misery has become a of life and victory. Jesus’ death on the cross restored our capacity to have eternal life. The power of the Cross is that on the Cross Life Destroyed Death, and Love destroyed hate[1].

Our culture asks us to accept the absurdity that physical might and financial strength are the signs of a powerful nation or a powerful person. But who were the most powerful people of the last century? Hitler, Stalin, Churchill? Two of the most powerful people of the last century were both based in India: Mahatma Ghandi[2] and Mother Theresa[3]. Both were poor. Both were lovers of all that is right and just. Ghandi shamed the mighty British Empire into giving India independence. Mother Theresa shamed us all into recognizing our responsibility towards the poorest of the poor. The leaders of the world found that it was easier to deal with a powerful capitalist than it was to argue with Mother Theresa. We also should add Pope John Paul II to those who conquer through the cross. John Paul II’s life demonstrated the Power of the Cross. Also, here, in our parish we have two wonderful examples; EVERYBODY will agree with me. Fr. White and Fr. Wagner. Both of them are wonderful priests, completely dedicated to his ministry, even when they are old, and their health is weak, they love the cross of the priesthood, and they are serving us at all the time.
We should never wear a cross as a piece of jewelry, even if we wear a gold cross. We should wear a cross as a sign that we are committed to Christ’s way, the way of sacrificial love. We should wear a cross as a sign that our ideal is to choose that which brings love into the world regardless of the personal cost. Love and love alone defeats hatred and, ultimately, death.

We should wear a cross as a personal reminder that even when the cost of one of our sacrifices seems terribly high and even when we can not see and may not see the good that has come from the sacrifice, we still have faith that the power of the Cross, the power of Sacrificial Love will prevail.

We should wear the cross as a sign of our commitment to a living faith and our hope that even if we die, as we probably will, we will still share the eternal life of God.

We should wear the cross as a statement to ourselves and to others. The statement is simple: this is how God loved the world ■

[1] Sunday 14th September, 2008, the Exaltation of the Holy Cross. Readings: Numbers 21:4-9. Do not forget the works of the Lord!—Ps 77(78):1-2, 34-38. Philippians 2:6-11. John 3:13-17
[2] Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (Gujarati: મોહનદાસ કરમચંદ ગાંધી) (2 October 1869 – 30 January 1948) was a major political and spiritual leader of India and the Indian independence movement. He was the pioneer of Satyagraha—resistance to tyranny through mass civil disobedience, firmly founded upon ahimsa or total non-violence—which led India to independence and inspired movements for civil rights and freedom across the world. He is commonly known around the world as Mahatma Gandhi (Sanskrit: महात्मा mahātmā or "Great Soul", an honorific first applied to him by Rabindranath Tagore) and in India also as Bapu (Gujarati: બાપુ bāpu or "Father"). He is officially honored in India as the Father of the Nation; his birthday, 2 October, is commemorated there as Gandhi Jayanti, a national holiday, and world-wide as the International Day of Non-Violence.
[3] Mother Teresa, OM, MC (Albanian: Nënë Tereza, born Anjezë Gonxhe Bojaxhiu (August 26, 1910 – September 5, 1997) was an Albanian[2][3] Roman Catholic nun with Indian citizenship[4] who founded the Missionaries of Charity in Kolkata (Calcutta), India in 1950. For over forty five years she ministered to the poor, sick, orphaned, and dying, while guiding the Missionaries of Charity's expansion, first throughout India and then in other countries.

Ilustration: The cross as the focal point of the "gloria del paradiso" is revered by the saints and the elect of the heavenly realm who surround the cross on banks of clouds. On the right, we recognize the patriarchs, including Moses, Abraham and King David. We also see Jonas sitting on the fish, looking up towards the cross, and St Catherine and Mary Magdalene in a sisterly embrace. In the foreground, there is a disputation between St Sebastian and Pope Gregory, St Jerome, St Ambrose and St Augustine, with the first Christian martyrs St Stephen and St Laurence. The cross, clutched by a kneeling female figure who is probably an embodiment of Faith, is surrounded by angels bearing the instruments of the Passion, above which we can make out the Evangelists and Apostles. At the head of a procession of angels streaming into the dazzling light of the background, which is flooded with an overwhelming brightness, we can see the Coronation of the Virgin.
Elsheimer's unique art is evident in the astonishing illusion of remarkable breadth and depth achieved by this small panel painting. Here, space is no longer simply a problem of continuously reduced scale, but also one of simultaneous graduation of colour and the distribution of light and darkness. This creates interlocking areas of colour and light which, though perceived by the eye, nevertheless take on the quality of a vision. This painting, originally part of a triptych, is widely regarded as Elsheimer's greatest masterpiece.

Adam Elsheimer, Glorification of the Cross (1605), Oil on copper, 48,5 x 36 cm, Städelsches Kunstinstitut, (Frankfurt)

Y entonces uno se queda con la Iglesia, que me ofrece lo único que debe ofrecerme la Iglesia: el conocimiento de que ya estamos salvados –porque esa es la primera misión de la Iglesia, el anunciar la salvación gracias a Jesucristo- y el camino para alcanzar la alegría, pero sin exclusividades de buen pastor, a través de esa maravilla que es la confesión y los sacramentos. La Iglesia, sin partecitas.

laus deo virginique matris