Today's Wisdom

Those who do not pass from the experience of the cross to the truth of the resurrection condemn themselves to despair! For we cannot encounter God without first crucifying our narrow notions of a god who reflects only our own understanding of omnipotence and power
Pope Francis

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Fr. Mardini on the Cross

Yes. Fr. Paul Mardini was at Jesus the King Melkite Catholic Church in Toronto today.The popular spiritual master, whose talks are published on Lebanon's Télélumière, gave a homily on the cross at the noon Mass.
Fr. Mardini spoke first about the preaching of the Church. He gave the example of the Apostle Philip as reported in the Acts of the Apostles: [So Philip ran to him, and heard him reading Isaiah the prophet, and asked, "Do you understand what you are reading?" And he said, "How can I, unless some one guides me?" And he invited Philip to come up and sit with him..... And the eunuch said to Philip, "About whom, pray, does the prophet say this, about himself or about some one else?" Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning with this scripture he told him the good news of Jesus. .] (Acts 8: 30-35).  It is indeed the mission of the Church to speak the "Word of God". A great example that comes to mind is St. Thérèse of Lisieux proclaimed patron of missions although she never left her convent in her short life.

The Cross: Fr. Mardini reminds his audience by Jesus words that once he is on the cross offering himself as a sacrifice for humanity, he will draw all to him. His blood purifies the earth that drank Abel's blood and sanctifies those who respond to his call...["And when I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw everyone to myself.”] (John 12: 32). However, Mardini said, he knows of the wife that complains "My husband is my cross"; the children that complain "Our parents are our cross"; or the father who interrogates his daughter and calls her "his cross". But the cross for Christians is the instrument that the Lord used to crush death and darkness. Jesus brought the resurrection and joy by his death.What kind of joy? Scripture gives the key "Now before the feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end." (John 13:1). "Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." (John 15:13).

The example he gives is the love of every mother for her children. The shining example is the Blessed Virgin Mary whom Jesus blessed  [...a woman in the crowd raised her voice and said to him, "Blessed is the womb that bore you, and the breasts that you sucked!" But he said, "Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it!"]. Yes. Mary heard the word of God. She delivered the Word of God to the world. We, therefore, proclaim with Elizabeth "Most blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! And why is this granted me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For behold, when the voice of your greeting came to my ears, the babe in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord." (Luke 1: 42-45).

Having learned the joy of the resurrection of Christ, we too should carry our crosses with joy until we meet our beloved Lord in the everlasting life that he prepared for us. [And he who sat upon the throne said, "Behold, I make all things new." Also he said, "Write this, for these words are trustworthy and true."] (Revelation 21: 5)

Let us close with this wonderful hymn "When I Survey the Wondrous Cross":

Today's Quote

"Behold I make all things new." (Revelation 21:5)


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