Orthodox Observer - October 5, 1998

Homily of Archbishop on Feast of Holy Cross Exaltation

[ Chapel of Holy Cross School of Theology - September 14, 1998 ]

My beloved spiritual children in Christ,

Where is the wise?
Where is the scribe?
Where is the disputer of this world?
Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?
(I Cor. 1:20)

Indeed, my beloved children, God has turned upside down all categories of human thought and reasoning through the power of His Life-giving Cross. And we are gathered here today to celebrate that power and the true wisdom that the world counts as foolishness.

For the power of the Cross is the power of the One who by submitting himself to an ignoble death on a cruel instrument of torture, has redeemed all mankind from death. And the enlightenment that comes from trusting in this power, from our affirmation that through this Cross joy has come into all the world, illumines our minds and hearts with eternal and everlasting truth.

As your Archbishop, and as a Christian, I can think of no more fitting name for this beloved Institution than the name of our Lord's Cross. For here, in the halls of this School, our struggle is to teach and to learn the wisdom that comes from God. There is a constant challenge for all of us to invert -to reverse, if you will- the logic of this world, which seeks to control, to dominate, and even subvert the Divine Will and Plan for creation. Our purpose is to bring the logic of this world into subjection to Christ, to the service of His Holy Church. In such a struggle, there can be no compromise, no concessions, no bargaining. What a profound calling, for both teacher and student alike!

And the key to this education of the soul is not to be found in methodology . . . in the constructs by which we absorb information. The key to this education is to be found in the message of the Cross; a message of unqualified love and acceptance of the will of God for each of us in our daily lives.

We preach, and we teach Christ Crucified, Buried and Risen from the dead. There are no proofs which can satisfy our intellectual curiosity about this greatest of all Mysteries. There is no formula which we can compute to achieve the certitude of our belief. There are no facts to substantiate the reality of eternal truth. We stand before the Cross of the Lord and we must decide whether we will accept Him as He is. We must enter into the darkness which fell at noontime over the face of the earth and see beyond the darkness of the hours of Holy Friday, to behold the glory of the Paschal dawn. We must accept that because of our sins, our faults, and our transgressions, the Wood of the Cross has become a Tree of Life for all the world. It is a paradox that can lead us to Paradise, for the promise of Paradise to the thief was granted from the Cross.

My beloved family of Holy Cross, on this day, when we exalt the Cross for all the world to behold and marvel, let us elevate our own spiritual senses. Let us dedicate every fiber of our being to the cause of lifting up the Cross in our own lives; by fasting, by sincere prayer, by genuine worship, by abiding faith, and by love unfeigned. Let us run after the wisdom that comes from God, the wisdom that the world can never teach, but which the world so desperately needs to learn. It begins with the willingness to carry our own cross, as the Lord gave us His divine example and carried His. Remember that He stumbled under Its holy weight for our sakes; that we might come forward, not from compulsion like Simon of Cyrene, but out of love for the One Who loved us first.

With such a love, we will know the paradox that brings power from weakness, and wisdom from folly. May He Who is the Wisdom and Power of God, our Lord Jesus Christ, ever grant that we know these blessings, and all His love, through His grace and mercy. Amen.

[ Orthodox Observer - Vol. 63, Issue 1149 - October 5, 1998 - p. 3 ]