Today, on the Sunday before the feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, the central theme of the Gospel is presented in a few words: “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (Jn. 3, 16).

Tomorrow we will celebrate one of the greatest feasts of our liturgical year: the Exaltation of the Precious and Life-giving Cross of our Lord. This Sunday is called the Sunday before Exaltation. When we are preparing for the feast we reflect on the Lord’s Cross. We will celebrate the feast of the solemn exaltation, of the instrument on which our Saviour died: died for our sins, died to give us life, which never ends. And all that we need to gain this life is to believe in Him. To believe so much that we can see this love that He grants us.

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In our lives, unfortunately we are very often preoccupied by many things and forget that the centre of our life should be God. We forget that only He is the one who gives life to us. We forget that He is the one who looks after us. We forget that He gave His life so that we could have eternal life.

Throughout our lives we encounter many symbols and signs. But there is one symbol that always accompanies us – the cross. For many of us, the cross is a sign of suffering, but in reality it is a symbol of triumph. Because without the cross on which Jesus was crucified, there would be no salvation. Where would we be if the Lord did not lay down His life for us on the cross? More than once we have heard the comparison of the “cross” as patience. However, let us not be frightened by our daily cross, which we carry, because we are not alone – Jesus helps us to carry it; He makes our cross easier. Let us learn only one thing – to always trust our cross to Him.

How important it is in our lives to simply rely on someone, to rely on Jesus, to rely on the cross of the Lord.

In our lives, we always try to rely on someone, especially in times of trial or crisis. What a tremendous support this is for us when we have someone to rely on. This week on Wednesday we all witnessed the earthquake in Melbourne and other parts of Australia. Someone was caught on the way to work, someone was in his house, someone was just walking in the park and the clergy celebrated Divine Liturgy at that very moment. Although these tremors were only a few seconds, but each of us felt a threat to his life. We all became at one point simply powerless before the elements of nature. At this time there was only one hope for Almighty God, only for Him alone. What a great grace it is for us to be able to rely on God. And He, as a Good Father, is always ready to be there and help us. How important it is in our lives to simply rely on someone, to rely on Jesus, to rely on the cross of the Lord.

Today I wish for each of us that by preparing for the feast of Exaltation and seeing before us the crucified Christ, we look on our faith and understand for ourselves whether we really believe that only God can protect us and grant us eternal life.

Mykola Bychok, CSsR