The discovery of the true cross of Christ in the fourth century by Empress Helena gave birth to the feast we celebrate today: The Exaltation or Triumph of the Cross.
This feast reminds us about the raising up of Jesus on the cross and his exaltation in glory. When the whole world was shrouded in darkness Jesus mounted the wood of the cross, and through his resurrection he shows us that death does not have the final word; darkness does not have the final word. The final word rests with Jesus, the Eternal Word, the resurrection and life, the true Light that dispels the darkness that surrounds us. In the gospel story of today (John 3:13 - 17) we heard about Nicodemus who went to Jesus under cover of dark because he was afraid of what his fellow Jews might think of him meeting with the troublesome rabbi.
Nicodemus knew that Jesus is the true light that dispels the darkness of the human heart and the darkness of the world, and that was why he went to him so that he too may experience the transformative light of Christ.
We are the Nicodemus of the twenty - first century and we are encouraged to find Jesus in people living in the darkness of poverty, mental illness, family strife, abuse of one kind or another.
That’s what the Catholic Campaign, which is being held this weekend, is all about.
The theme of this year’s Campaign is “Our Church, Our Mission, Our Responsibility”.
As the Archbishop in his homily for the Annual Catholic Campaign said, “The Church doesn’t have a mission; the Church is a mission. And this mission belongs not just to the bishops, the clergy of the Religious. It’s something that belongs to everyone in the Church. All the baptised are called to be missionary disciples. We are all called, like Nicodemus, to find Jesus in the darkness. We are called to be disciples. But having encountered Jesus who is the light, we are then sent forth by him to be light in the darkness.”
May the light of Christ, in all its brightness and richness, lighten our hearts. May our hearts be set on fire, so that aglow with the light of Christ, we may bring light to our world that is shrouded in darkness.