The Prelate’s Sermon, October 23
Today, on the seventh Sunday of the Feast of the Elevation of the Holy Cross, according to the Armenian Church calendar, we are celebrating the Feast of the Discovery of the Holy Cross. This is the crowning of the celebrations of the Cross, within the cycle of an entire calendar year. The Apostolic Churches owe this important feast to Queen Helena, the mother of Emperor Constantine. In 327, the Queen, who was in her seventies, set out on a long journey to Jerusalem, where after a series of inquiries and a miracle discovered the actual Cross upon which Jesus Christ had been crucified.
The Church Fathers have highly revered the Cross within the context of our Redemption. I would like to share the following thoughts on this occasion.
- Discovering or finding anything, always brings joy and self-confidence. Some discoveries are for the self while others for a collective benefit. Some have temporary character while others more permanent. The Discovery of the Holy Cross along with the material has also transcendental dimension.
- The Discovery of the Cross brings us a great message that whenever and wherever there is a leadership with unselfish and positive spirit, rallies around it the support of followers and eventually enjoys the heavenly blessing. The initiation of the Queen, the cooperation of the inhabitants of Jerusalem was crowned by heavenly intervention.
- This spiritual pilgrimage which assumes enormous commitment organizational operation was the fruit of wholehearted commitment manifested in solid action.
The pilgrimage of the Queen motivated by passionate love to discover the Holy Table, upon which the unblemished Lamb of God was sacrificed for our sake, was an action in love, authentic to the spirit of the Cross, the tangible token of God’s Love. The more we contemplate and penetrate into the mystery of the Holy Cross, the more we get into the essence of God.
- Discovering our own cross no matter who we are means to infuse the love of God in our calling vocation, mission, responsibility duty or any task. Translating the power of Divine Love in our daily lives renews in us the imago Dei we were created with. It provides and equips us with the power of the Holy Spirit which is beyond our comprehension. Thus, not only in times of success and joy but also in sorrowful and agonizing experiences with the irresistible voice of the Crucified One, that ‘My yoke is easy and my burden is light” (Mt 11:29-30) the eternal Love Plant generates refreshing energy in us to overcome all the bitterness the world presents to us
- Discovering our own cross makes us also aware of our own selves as sojourners with a clear ultimate goal. The more we interpret our existence through the lenses of the Cross it enlightens our sight with the knowledge granted to us by our Creator to dispel all vanities presented by the evil one, as he did to our Lord from the Temptation in the wilderness until the last Temptation on the cross to come down and save Himself from shameful death. Thus, we too, led by the light and power shining from the Crucified on the Cross, without deviation we may cross the valley of death and arrive the harbor of life, Eternal Life.
With the inspiring message of today’s feast, let us unceasingly explore and refine ourselves. As every day, on different occasions we look at mirror to beautify ourselves and in case we notice any wounds we will seek to cure them, likewise, for the sake of our spiritual health if we examine ourselves through the Cross-mirror, definitely we will heal all the scars with the help of the Holy Spirit, to whom befits glory and honor with the loving heavenly Father and caring the Only Begotten Son. Amen.