Homily: Sunday of the Cross

March 11 (O.S., February 26), 2018: Third Sunday of the Great Lent; Adoration of Cross; St. Porphyrius, bishop of Gaza (420). Martyr Sebastian (66).

Ss Cyril & Methodius Ukrainian Orthodox Mission
Madison, WI

Epistle: Hebrews 4:14-16; 5:1-6
Gospel: Mark 8:34-38; 9:1

From the Cross, in this terrible moment, when humanity says “No!” to God, God says His final and definitive “Yes!” to us.

From the Cross, He forgives us our sin.

From the Cross, He looks at the Apostle who betrays Him, the faces of the disciples who abandon and deny Him, the Jewish officials who prosecute Him, and the Roman who mock, beat, condemn and crucify Him and without reservation forgives.

From the Cross, He accepts the repentance of the thief and opens Paradise not only to him but to us as well.

From the Cross, and despite all of our sins, He doesn’t turn away from us, who turn away from Him. He doesn’t betray us who daily betray Him. He doesn’t abandon us, who abandon Him.

From the Cross, He stretches out His arms and embraces us with love.

This is why when we look at the Cross, we see not our shame but His Glory.

This is why when we look at the Cross, we don’t see Hell’s victory but Jesus’ victory over Hell.

This is why when we look at the Cross, we see not the death of God but His Resurrection.

This is why when we look at the Cross, we break into a song of praise:

Christ is risen from the dead,
Trampling down death by death,
And upon those in the tombs
Bestowing life!

On the Cross, in this terrible moment, when we say “No!” to God, God says “Yes!” to us.

On the Cross, when it seems that everything has come to an end, Jesus says “It is finished!” and now through His mercy, we are freed from fear and shame.

On the Cross, God overcomes the power of sin and death.

On the Cross, God’s mercy and love, make forgiveness a reality and restores hope to our lives.

On the Cross, God says that sin and death never have the last word in our lives. It isn’t our “No!” to Him that matters but His “Yes!” to us.

On the Cross, God says “Yes!” to us.

Let us now take up our cross and say “Yes!” to Him Who takes up His Cross and says “Yes!” to us.

Let us now take up our cross and follow Him as His disciples and witnesses.

Let us now take up our cross and announce to the world the mercy and love of God.

Let us now take up our cross and say “Yes!” to Him Who has from all eternity and through the Cross says “Yes!” to us.

In Christ,

+Fr Gregory

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