Sermon on the Exaltation of the Holy Cross [September 14, 2011]

Beloved brothers and sisters in the Lord,

today, the tree of life, namely the God’s Cross, is taken out from the bosom of the earth for to attest His resurrection, because His Cross stated as being the life-giving and saving for every man who believes into the Lord Jesus Christ.

And its exaltation, of the Cross, by priests, proclaims the ascension of the Lord to heavens from which the human nature lives in heaven.

The ideational content so far is from a troparion from the removing of the Cross, from the altar, in the midst of the Church, at Matins.

And we can say these words, because we pass from the historic event of finding and exaltation of the Holy Cross of the Lord towards the christological perspective of the orthodox life.

The Gospel of this day is a christocentric one [John 19, 6-11, 13-20, 25-28, 31-35] because it speaks to us about the unjust judgment of Christ, about the crucifixion and the death of Lord for to conclude, in the last verse, that only the eyewitness can truly testify.

 And if Saint Longinus the Centurion witnessed that Lord’s death was accompanied by many wonders, because he was there [John 19, 35], just as true is the testimony of the Saint Empress Helena, who discovered the Lord’s Cross and enjoyed from it the Church of God.

The testimony of the Gospel is relevant for us precisely because it is the testimony of the eyewitnesses. In the same way is relevant for us and the Church’s Tradition for that is the testimony of God’s Saints, it is their profound experience as men of the Church.

And the Orthodox Church puts together the Scripture and the Tradition of it in this feast (as in every feast in part) because both are true, worthy of credence, authentic.

Since the discovery of Cross made by Saint Helena is a consequence of her faith and love for the Lord. And the discovery of the Lord’s Cross is a certification of the historical events which she had received in traditional mode.

The Holy Scripture of the New Testament is the creation of the Church, because it is its testimony about certain events. But it’s a real testimony, validated historical.

Only that the Scripture of the New Testament, as that of the Old Testament, is an essential witness about the life with God and not an exhaustive one.

We can not find in Scripture any truth of the Church for that the purpose of Scripture is not to be a dictionary of faith, where to find everything we need.

The Scripture is only a part of the testimony of the Church. But no Church’s Tradition is not totalizing.

Like as the Scripture, the Tradition speaks about the past, while the Church is a continuous present.

For us to be of Tradition, we must live the testimony of Scripture and of Tradition in the Church, ie there where we relive the history of the Church at the present time.

This is the reason for that we see in every cross the Cross of the Lord and in every orthodox dwelling the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. For the grace of God is the one that reactualizes in our life the history of the Church in measure in that we refer at the real events of the Church with piety and faith.

Of course the reactualization of this feast not means to make a pilgrimage, necessarily, to Jerusalem, for to see the Lord’s Cross. But the reactualization from this day consists in fasting, prayer and theological understanding. In the inner and ecclesial living of the happiness of the Cross.

And the happiness of the Cross is experienced in fasting, in renunciation, in the understanding pain. Why? Because the Lord was crucified on tree because the unrestraint of our Protoparents, Saint Adam and Saint Eve, which receiving the happiness of entry into Kingdom by the Lord’s Cross, together with all the Saints of the Old Testament.

And from this thing we learn that the happiness keeps by asceticism, by suffering of the cross. And each of us must bear the cross of our dispassionateness.

Because the way towards the Paradise’s happiness passes through our interior, that must be filled by the glory of the Most Holy Trinity.

And therefore, and we can give a true witness about Cross of the Lord, if we show in the body and our soul that God’s grace reigns, that who springs from the suffering of the Lord on the Cross.

And this is the true testimony: the true knowledge of God in our being! And if the grace of Who was crucified and raised divinizes us and now, this means that we are in His Church and He is with us always, until the end of time.

And this is the faith’s reactualization, of which I spoke before: to feel that you continually become holy by all the Church’s services.

And if we leave from the Church with the entrusting that we are full of theology and grace then the today’s feast has reactualised its potencies in us. But for that we must to be only eyes and ears at the celebration and full of asceticism in our life.

But life with God is possible, because He strengthens us daily. Because God wants much more than us our happiness and does all in all for that to save all. Amen!

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