09/14/2018, 14.47
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Holy Sepulcher, solemn Mass for the Exaltation of the Cross

Vicar of the Custody: We must accept the mystery of the Cross and make it a criterion of life, knowing how to lose in order to win, as Christ did. The parishes of the Holy Land celebrate by lighting a fire, in the sign of the Cross.

Jerusalem (AsiaNews) - "The apparent defeat of the Cross has become the perennial victory of love" stated Friar Dobromir Jasztal, vicar of the Custody of the Holy Land, this morning during the homily for Mass for the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross. The solemn liturgy was held at 9 am this morning at the altar of Calvary, in the Basilica of the Holy Sepulcher, in Jerusalem.

Today the Christian community joins the rest of the world in exalting the Cross, the discovery of which is marked on May 7th. Like every year, the Mass was celebrated by the vicar of the Custody. The priest carried a relic of the True Cross to the altar, where it remained for the entire ceremony.

During the homily, Friar Jasztal recalled how the Cross is the instrument for the raising of man and the "obligatory passage for the glory of the Resurrection". The Franciscan called on faithful to recognize the mystery of the Cross "in all its beauty and depth", even if this is not enough: "The mystery of the Cross must also become a precise criterion of life. This need frightens us, but if we do not accept it, we cannot be credible Christians and above all our faith becomes sterile and illusory ".

"Jesus undressed himself by becoming obedient unto death", recalls Brother Jasztal. "The Cross is weakness, it is being defeated in the sense of allowing oneself to be trampled and humiliated in order not to renounce loving and being true. It is knowing how to lose in order to win, as Christ did. In other words, one must be able to let oneself be destroyed by the hatred and envy of others, without remaining destroyed inside, remaining free in our love to the end. The logic of the world, devoid of the logic of the Cross, requires us to respond to hatred with hate, thus opening a chain of reaction that ultimately returns our hatred of ourselves. In the end it is no longer the hatred of others that affects us, but it is our own hate that devours from within ". A chain of hatred that only Jesus was able to break through the Cross.

Interviewed by AsiaNews, Friar David Grenier, Secretary of the Custody, comments: "The Cross is at the center of our Christian life. We would like to have a Christian life without 'Crosses', but the story that the Cross is the way of Redemption: without it there is no Resurrection ".

In addition to the Holy Sepulcher ceremony, each parish of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem celebrated the anniversary. Fr. Ibrahim Shomali, chancellor of the patriarchate, says that the communities celebrate bringing "the gifts of the earth" - grapes and pomegranate - on offer, while the parish priest lights a fire. "The meaning is to thank God for these gifts, and to live the Cross, that is to accept it, to witness it, because it must be seen as 'fire'." In the Christian village of Meilia (Galilee), the exaltation of the Cross was also an occasion for an ecumenical moment, with a procession in the late afternoon attended by Latin, Orthodox and Protestant Christians.

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