Some of you clearly remember Harry Caray, Cubs announcer, who’s famous exclamation “Holy Cow” could light up the airwaves with excitement. Today I’d like to exclaim “Holy Cross” for the sacrificial and all encompassing work of Jesus of Nazareth the Christ who came to share God’s message of brotherhood, sisterhood, and love to all people. He did this through his death and resurrection offering to the world a way of peace. Although Christ followers have not always displayed the love and mercy of their Savior his love is nonetheless real and available to everyone on the face of the earth.
Historically, the feast has been associated with the dedication on Sept. 14, 335, of a complex of buildings built by the Emperor Constantine (c. 285-337) in Jerusalem on the sites of the crucifixion and Christ’s tomb. This shrine included a large basilica and a circular church. Constantine’s mother, Helena (c. 255- c. 330), supervised the construction of the shrine, and a relic believed to be the cross was discovered during the work of excavation. Claims by the Church of Jerusalem to have the cross date from the mid-fourth century, and the pilgrim Egeria mentions a feast commemorating the discovery of the cross in Jerusalem in the late-fourth-century. This feast has also been associated with the exposition at Jerusalem of the cross by the Byzantine Emperor Heraclius (575-641). He recovered the relic from the Persians who took it from Jerusalem in 614 when they destroyed the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Holy Cross Day provides an opportunity for a joyous celebration of Christ’s redeeming sacrifice on the cross.
While people debate about statues and monuments let’s lift high the cross as a symbol of Christ’s love for all humanity and the cure for hate which can divide.