In the first reading (Ex 32:7-11) Moses intercedes on behalf of the people who had turned away from the covenant. The Lord delights not in sin, but in our turning back to him (c.f. Luke 15:1-32). A contrite and humbled heart God will never spurn (Psalm 51). As St. Paul teaches in the second reading, God sent his Son into the world not to condemn sinners, but to save them (1 Timothy 1:12-17). By his Cross and Resurrection, he has set us free.
September 14th is the feast of the Exultation of the Holy Cross. This feast celebrates the finding of the true cross, under Calvary hill, by the Empress St. Helena in 320 AD. Many miracles were attributed to that particular cross. St. Helena’s son, Emperor Constantine built a basilica on the site of the tomb and another church adjacent to Calvary. While the buildings have been destroyed and rebuilt over the centuries, the site of the tomb and calvary are still present within the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem.
The finding of the true Cross by St. Helena is an image to us of the victory of our Lord over sin and death. We are blessed at St. Paul's to have a relic of the True Cross. A blessing with that relic will be given after Mass on September 14th to all present.
(From the hymn The Royal Banners)
“The royal banners forward go,
the cross shines forth in mystic glow;
where he in flesh, our flesh who made,
our sentence bore, our ransom paid.”
On September 15th the Church celebrates the feast of Our Lady of Sorrows. We are encouraged to reflect on the Seven Sorrows of Mary:
1. The prophecy of Simeon. (St. Luke 2:34, 35)
2. The flight into Egypt. (St. Matthew 2:13, 14)
3. The loss of the Child Jesus in the temple. (St. Luke 2: 43-45)
4. The meeting of Jesus and Mary on the Way of the Cross.
5. The Crucifixion. (St. John 19:18, 25-27)
6. The taking down of the Body of Jesus from the Cross. (St. Mark 15, 43-46).
7. The burial of Jesus. (St. John 19, 41-42).
This Sunday we mark the 15th anniversary of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 (9/11). Let us pause and pray for the victims, police, firefighters, and emergency personnel who lost their lives that day at the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and United Flight 93, as well as for survivors and families of the victims. We must also pray and work for peace in our country, that we may truly be One Nation, Under God. Pray for peace in the world, and for those who suffer because of war, terrorism, and persecution.
Save us, Savior of the world, for by your Cross and Resurrection, you have set us free.
God bless you all,
Father Robert Letona