National Catholic Register

Culture of Life

Pope’s Lourdes Youth Days and the Cross

BY Tom & April Hoopes

September 7-13, 2008 Issue | Posted 9/2/08 at 2:24 PM

 

Sunday, Sept. 14 is the feast of the Triumph of the Holy Cross. Monday, Sept. 15 is Our Lady, Mother of Sorrows.


Papal Visit to France

Pope2008.com is the Register’s site featuring papal events.

Details are available for Pope Benedict XVI’s trip to Lourdes to mark the 150th anniversary of the apparitions of Mary to Bernadette.

Sept. 12 – Before heading to Lourdes, the Pope arrives in Paris and meets with national leaders. He will visit the College des Bernardins and greet young people and celebrate vespers with priests, religious and deacons at Notre Dame.

Sept. 15 – the Pope departs from Lourdes airport for Rome.

In addition to Masses and activities with the sick in Lourdes, his youth activities include:

Sept. 12, 8:30 p.m. (1:30 p.m. CDT) – a vigil and concert in Paris organized by the Emmanuel movement.

Sept. 13, 11 p.m. (4 p.m. CDT) – A Eucharistic adoration vigil for young people, with a special talk by Cardinal Philippe Barbarin of Lyon, France.

Sept. 14, 9 p.m. (2 p.m. CDT) – a vigil and concert organized by the Community of St. John.


Family

Today is the feast of the Triumph of the Cross. Originally called the Exaltation of the Cross, it commemorates the victory of Christ’s cross over the powers of death. By dying on the cross, Our Lord is no longer above us and unreachable; he has joined us and turned our suffering from a way of defeat into our path to him.

There are a number of ways you can remind your family today of the importance of the cross.

Take down the family’s main crucifix. Remind the family what the day is, perhaps by reading the first paragraph above. Then say your favorite Prayer Before a Crucifix together (or search Google for one) before you put the crucifix back up.

Create a cake with a cross design. If you’re good with icing, you can write the words In hoc signo vinces (By this sign you will conquer) on the cake — the words Emperor Constantine adopted as his motto after seeing a chi rho in the sky. The vision led him to accept the Christian way.


Readings

Numbers 21:4-9; Psalms 78:1-2, 34-38; Philippians 2:6-11; John 3:13-17

EPriest.com offers free homily packs for priests.


Our Take

Each reading today is rich with meaning. The Gospel is the John 3:16 Gospel (“God so loved the world …”), considered a summing up of the Christian message.

But the second reading is our favorite reading from St. Paul, because it was a favorite of the priest who performed our marriage ceremony, Father Arthur Swain.

He said it summed up the Christian paradox and the two major countercultural virtues Christians need: humility and obedience.

We are usually far from humble. We think of ourselves as the most important person in any room, and always find subtle ways to see that we get our due. But if even Jesus Christ, who was God, “did not regard equality with God something to be grasped,” should not we?

And if “he emptied himself, taking the form of a slave,” why should we feel put upon when we have to help others?

Obedience is something we feel we have outgrown. That’s for children, not adults. But St. Paul reminds us that Christ obeyed — “to death, even death on a cross.”

If we feel like a dupe when we serve and obey, we needn’t. The Second Person of the Trinity did the same thing, and look where it got him: “Because of this, God greatly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, of those in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”