Sunday of the Veneration of the Holy Cross

Sunday of the Holy Cross

Mark 8:34-9:1

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Christ is in our midst! [He is and ever shall be!]

I would like to thank all parishioners, visitors, travelers, and friends for joining us.

And he called to him the multitude with his disciples, and said to them, “If any man would come after me, let him deny himselfand take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it; and whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it. For what does it profit a man, to gain the whole world and forfeit his life? For what can a man give in return for his life? For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of man also be ashamed, when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.” And he said to them, “Truly, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death before they see that the kingdom of God has come with power.”

I am speaking to you, here, present today. I am speaking to others with whom I have spoken before. And still others who are yet to contemplate on these words.

The Cross.

It was a symbol of barbaric punishment by an evil empire.

It was a symbol of intimidation.

It instilled fear amongst the conquered.

The Cross was everything mankind avoided.

The Cross was absolute cruelty.

The Cross was the power of the prince of this world.

And for some, it still is the power of the prince of this world,

For there are many who will cooperate with this world

Rather than take up the Cross and remain true to Him.

The significance of the Cross, and the prince of this world,

Is still evident.

There are many – in history, today, and in the future – who will avoid the Cross out of choice.

For them the Cross is an inconvenience.

For them the Cross is to be avoided.

Indeed, for them, them Cross is not a reality.

And, for them who avoid God’s reality and cooperate with this world,

they will teach their children and children’s children.

They will bear the burden of the preceding at the Last Judgment

When before Christ, He will simply ask them, “Where is your Cross?”

The question will not merit a reply.

There will be no words.

The deed – the absence of a Cross – will speak for itself.

And the judgment will be swift.

Today’s man is asked: “Will you lose your life for my sake and the Gospel?”

“Will you deny yourself” for the truth?

Are you “seeking to gain the world?”

Or are you “ashamed of me and of my words” – my truth, the Truth?

The Lord gave us the warning.

If you are ashamed – if you are idolatrous, if you worship mammon,

if you endeavor to redefine worship and ecclesiology – then so too

“will the Son of man also be ashamed,

when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”

There will be a day of reckoning for each of us, for our children, and our children’s children. What we often forget is that the burden of future generations rests on our shoulders – our principles, our emotions, and our intellect or lack thereof.

“What does it profit a man, to gain the whole world [the earthly things] and forfeit his [eternal] life?” The earthly things, our earthly mindset, have nothing to give us in comparison to all the Lord has to give us . . . His eternal Love . . . and Presence. In order to appreciate the preceding, you must believe and trust the Lord.

All I have said is not theory, is it not our decision to rationalize. All you need do is look at the saints for today – the 10,000 Martyrs of Nicomedia, all crucified on Mount Ararat in Armenia by order of the Roman emperor.

It is not theory, all you need to is look at the 4th century writings of saint for the day, St. Cyril, archbishop of Jerusalem, who wrote “In His first coming, He endured the Cross, despising shame; in His second, He comes attended by a host of Angels, receiving glory. We rest not then upon His first advent only, but look also for His second.”

To deny the reality of the Cross, its truth, and words of our Lord God and Saviour Jesus Christ, is to deny Christ Himself, and to deny all of the saints of the day – and every day. And this will be your burden. It is your choice.

If, however, we adhere to tradition, and the principles embedded in the Church Christ gave us, and have the courage to carry His Cross now – and deny ourselves – remaining true, then fear not, because we will be the people of Pascha!