We have reached the Third Sunday of the Great Fast, The Sunday of the Veneration of the Holy Cross. In the midpoint of Great Lent, the Church places before us the Cross of Christ, as a reminder for us to look ahead to our goal. The Cross is there for our refreshment and support, to encourage us to remain steadfast in our journey to the glorious Pascha of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
Some of us have already tired of the journey, but as a traveler of old, we on this Sunday and during the week of the Cross have a chance to rest and rejuvenate ourselves to not only complete the fast but renew with more joy and exuberance the few remaining weeks to Pascha.
This Cross was placed in our midst to provide us with renewed vigor and spiritual strength, for the Cross celebrates His victory over sin and death. The Cross is an opportunity not to mourn but to rejoice in the Lord. You see, my dear people, the main theme of this Sunday is joy and gladness not doom and gloom.
The Cross means that we can turn to God with repentance and that we are assured by His sacrifice upon the Cross of grace and forgiveness. We receive the gift of the Cross on the basis of what God has already done in Christ Jesus. This is the good news of this Sunday!
This Sunday afternoon at 4pm we are gathering in our Church for the Pan-Orthodox Vespers in which priests and faithful from throughout our region will gather at St. Herman’s to celebrate this Sunday of the Veneration of the Cross. In keeping with this our 50th Anniversary of our parish, I have invited Father Herman Belt, a recently ordained seminarian from St. Tikhon’s Theological Seminary to deliver the homily in our midst. Fr. Herman, upon graduation from the Seminary, will be assigned to the Cathedral of St. Michael in Sitka, Alaska, where he will begin his ministry to the native people of Alaska.
Over the past few years, Fr. Herman, while a student, has assisted me and Sdn. John Pusey, in many of the projects for the Metropolitan Museum of the Orthodox Church in America, not only in South Canaan, PA, but during the recently held All-American Council in Baltimore, MD.
Please make every effort to join us on this Sunday to renew our dedication to our Church but also the mission of our own Blessed Father Herman of Alaska.