Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
By now many have returned to the September to June routine of life. How often our calendars and plans revolve around the academic year and the many sports and extra-curricular activities associated with it. Schedules evoke a certain discipline of life which is necessary to get things accomplished.
On the supernatural level, schedules and disciplines are also necessary for real progress to be made in our growth and development. So where do we begin? We begin where Jesus our Lord tells us: “Take up your cross and follow me!” At Baptism our lives begin under the Sign of the Cross; we bless ourselves constantly throughout life with it, and in our final moments on this earth, the priest sends us to God in the Sign of the Cross. Perhaps we are forgetful that this is our “schedule” and our “discipline.” Today we have the opportunity to celebrate the Exaltation of the Cross which always falls on Sept. 14, and thus only every seven years is it on our Sunday liturgical celebration. This feast was established early in the history of the Church to commemorate the finding of the True Cross by St. Helena, mother of the Emperor Constantine. The relic of the True Cross was “lifted up” for all the faithful to venerate, just as we do every Good Friday. In today’s Gospel Our Lord speaks about being “lifted up.” St. John the Evangelist wants us to understand it in two senses: Jesus being physically lifted up on the cross, and His glorification through His crucifixion. Daily we ask Our Lord to lift us up with Him. Begin and end every day with that powerful Sign of His Cross, and you will find yours much more easy to bear.