Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint John 3, 13-17
No one has ascended into heaven except the one who descended from heaven, the Son of Man. And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life. ‘For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life. ‘Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.
The cross of life that gives Life
1) The Story. The story goes that one day, Jesus‘ cross was found under Constantine’s rule. Constantine, son of St. Helena, was a pagan but respected Christians. He had a terrible battle against the persecutor Maxentius, head of Rome, around the year 311. The night before the battle, Constantine had a dream in which he saw a luminous cross in the air and heard a voice that said “with this sign you will win.” At the beginning of the battle, he ordered the cross to be placed on several battalions’ flags and he exclaimed “I trust Christ in whom my mother Helena believes.” The battle was won. Constantine became emperor and set the Christians free. For three centuries they had been persecuted by pagan rulers. But it does not end here, they say Saint Helena, the emperor’s mother, asked her son Constantine for permission to go to Jerusalem to find the cross on which Jesus had died. After several excavations, three crosses were found. As no one could tell which was Jesus’ cross, they took an agonizing woman to them. When touched by the first cross, the patient got worse, when touched by the second one, she was just as ill as she was before, but when touched by the third cross, the patient instantly recovered her health. This is how Saint Helena, bishop Macario of Jerusalem, and thousands of devotees carried the cross in pious procession through the streets of Jerusalem. Along the way, they met a widowed woman who was taking her dead son to be buried and when they placed the Holy Cross next to the dead son he rose again.
2) For You. The cross is our identity, not because it is a sign of death, but because the Life gave His life for us and it is through the cross that resurrection comes to us.
3) Your Cross. You have your own cross. It can be a person, a disease, or a situation. Do not fear, you can be crucified and you may not understand what is going on,, but do not worry, trust that you will be resurrected. Because Heaven is our goal.
God bless you in the name of the Father, of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.