September 14, 2022

Homily Two for the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross of the Lord (Archpriest Rodion Putyatin)

By Archpriest Rodion Putyatin

"God so loved the world..." (John 3:16).

Why, listeners, is the Cross of the Lord elevated, that is, it rises, ascends, and, as it were, is shown?

On September 14 it is solemnly erected, especially in our cathedral during Vespers, in memory of the well-known ancient event, when the Cross of the Lord was found in the ground, taken out and elevated, to be shown to the crowds.

This happens once a year, or even every day after prayers and church services, an exaltation happens. So what is it for? The priest raises, elevates, lifts up the Cross of the Lord, so that you see it, venerate it, then he overshadows you with the Cross, so that you adore it and accept the blessing of the Crucified One on the Cross.

Is it for this only? No, but for another reason, and I think this is the main thing: in order to draw your attention to the One Who is lifted up on the cross, so that you can see how much He loves us. He died on the cross for our sins out of love for us.

God is our Father, but such a father as our God was not in the world, there is not and will not be: this Father, our God, gave His Son over to death for us sinners, and His Son, our Lord, Himself went to death for the sake of our salvation from sins. But do you know why we need to know that God loves us very much, loves us infinitely? So that, seeing how God loves us, we repent of our sins and not be afraid to ask for forgiveness.

And how do we usually do it? When we are going to do something bad, sinful - we are not afraid of anything, we don’t want to remember God, we try to forget about Him or, remembering Him, we calm ourselves with the fact that it’s nothing that we sin - God is merciful, He will forgive, there is no sin that He will not forgive. But after we come to our senses, we immediately begin to worry, to suffer, why we sinned, transgressed; we worry, we suffer - but we do not ask God for forgiveness. We are afraid, we think that in this way He will not forgive, so our sins will remain in us and God will punish us for them, but in order to calm ourselves, we try to forget both about sins and about God; we forget and continue to sin, and thus we continue to perish.

No, sinner, don't do that. Keep yourself from sin in every possible way, ask God for help so that you can save yourself; if you sin, do not remain in sins, but rather immediately turn to God, repent, confess and ask for forgiveness. God loves to forgive sins so much that He gave His Only Begotten Son to death for sinners, so that they would be convinced that for the sake of Him who died on the cross for them, He would forgive their sins, if only they would repent and ask for forgiveness and, thus, not to perish in sins.

So the Cross of the Lord ascends, rises, most importantly, in order to attract your attention, so that you can see how the Lord God loves you, and, seeing this, repent of sins and not be afraid to ask for forgiveness; so that you do not think that He will not forgive, by His death on the cross He Himself obtained your forgiveness.

Those who repent and ask for forgiveness are close to the Kingdom of Heaven, while those who do not repent and who do not ask for forgiveness are far from it. Oh, draw us to You by Your grace, so that, seeing You ascended on the cross, we repent and ask for forgiveness. Amen.