Jerusalem: Feast of the Invention of the Holy Cross

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Jerusalem: Feast of the Invention of the Holy Cross

“He who finds Jesus’ cross, finds life”

Jerusalem is the place of all miracles, and this was one such miracle. Every year, the Church of Jerusalem celebrates the Invention of the Holy Cross on May 7 with pomp and circumstance. Even though this feast was removed from the general Roman calendar in 1960 by the Pope St. John XXIII, it is still commemorated at the very place where the Empress Helen, the mother of Constantine, found the True Cross, to which Christ was nailed and on which he died. Etymologically, “invention” means “discovery.” The current chapel, adorned in red and gold for the occasion, is an old quarry carved into the rock, located only a few meters from Mount Calvary. Tradition has it that this is where the instruments of the Passion were thrown after Christ’s burial. Thus, it was there that some three centuries later, in 327, the holy queen found the precious relics, buried in the dirt. At Morning Prayer, or at Night Prayer, in the early hours on Monday, May 7, the patristic reading commemorated this miracle. The extract from the History of the Church by St. Rufin thus recalled how the healing of a woman allowed [St. Helen] to recognize the True Cross among the three found, the two others being those of the two thieves crucified at the same time as Christ .

During the Mass, the Father Custos, Francesco Patton, recalled in his homily that “he who finds the cross of Christ, finds life.” Going back to the first reading, he compared “ambition, resentment, envy, desire for revenge, greed, the desire to own things and even people, what Pope Francis calls the ‘culture of waste’” to those snakes that assaulted the Hebrews in the wilderness, while they were protesting against God. As the Hebrews looked at the serpent raised on the mast by Moses to protect life, “it is good for us to learn to look up, to go in search of the only remedy that can heal us—Christ raised on the Cross, Jesus who is given by the Father and who gives himself out of love for us,” added the Custos. While Good Friday commemorates the painful Passion of Christ and his death, the feast of the Invention of the True Cross, which takes place during the Easter season, reminds us that the cross is the source of eternal life. Thus, Father Custos concluded by recalling that “it is not a question of going in search of useless sufferings, but of first contemplating the free, enormous love with which Jesus saves us, and then of learning from Jesus how to transform everything that bothers us, or that creates discomfort and suffering, into love. This is the only way to make sense of the suffering that is part of our existence. At the end of the mass, the relic of the True Cross, which was enthroned on the altar of the chapel for the two days of celebration, was carried out in a procession, and, as per tradition, the procession circled around Edicule of the Holy Sepulcher three times, recalling that death does not have the last word. Afterwards, the faithful venerated the relic.

Wed, 05/09/2018 - 21:24
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