The True Stigmata

(Homily for Exaltation of the Cross)

St. Paul told the Galatians that he bore in his body the “brand marks” (stigmata) of Jesus. (6:17). On this day in 1224 St. Francis received those five wounds on his own flesh. The feast of the Holy Cross culminated his identification with Christ crucified.

Prior to St. Francis, Christian art tended to portray Jesus in his glory – Christ the Pantocrator, the Lord of Creation, the Judge. Even when on the cross, Jesus was often shown as a fully robed priest. Francis, while far from denying Jesus' Godhead, wanted to emphasize the divine humility. For example, in a cave above the hills of Greccio, he recreated the manger scene to show how God accepted the weakness and total dependence of a baby. But as St. Paul tells us today, he humbled himself even further, “becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross.”

You may have heard that Mel Gibson is making a movie about the final hours of Jesus’ earthly life – The Passion. It stars Jim Caviezel who is from Mount Vernon. (Last year his parents attended the Father Corapi retreat here at Holy Family.) If you have been listening to Sacred Heart Radio or watching EWTN, you may have heard the moving interview where he tells what it was like to portray Christ in his suffering.

The movie contains a glimpse of Mel Gibson. It shows his hand holding the nail which is driven into Christ’s palm. Gibson did this to underline his own guilt, which in Christian theology he shares with all mankind, for the death of Jesus.

Today the Church not only invites us to identify with the Cross, but to exalt it. As Catholics we carry the cross in our entrance procession at Mass. In doing this, we follow the example of Moses who lifted up the bronze serpent in the desert to bring healing. In the Gospel, Jesus tells us that action prefigured his own redemptive death.

According to early traditions, when the cross of Jesus was recovered in Jerusalem, they were able to distinguish it from other wooden beams because it brought healing to an afflicted woman. St. Augustine tells how the cross heals the two greatest wounds. It heals human despair by the free gift of mercy. And it heals our arrogance or pride by showing us the divine humility.

Today we lift high the cross of Christ. We recognize this involves embracing whatever cross he may have sent to you or me. As another St. Francis, St. Francis de Sales said, "We must carry the cross we have and not another, and its merit does not consist in the quality of the cross, but in the perfection with which it is carried."


Versión Castellana

From Archives (for Exaltation of Cross):

2014: Finding Your Place Week 6
2008: The Center of Human History
2005: A Dangerous Book
2003: The True Stigmata

Seapadre Homilies: Cycle A, Cycle B, Cycle C

Sunday Homilies

Audio Files of Homilies (Simple Catholicism Blog)

Are these homilies a help to you? Please consider making a donation to St. Mary of the Valley Parish.

Fr. Brad's Homilies (well worth listening)

Bulletin (Abel Magaña Ordained, CBS Smears Vatican, Immigrants' Rights)


What Gene Robinson means

Celibacy is gift cherished by church (By Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan)

Celibacy of Priests: Is it Possible? Is it in Bible?

Full text homily of Bishop Jenky at Erin Feis "the pervasive culture of 21st century America is basically at war with Jesus Christ and living in direct opposition to the truth of his Gospel and is aggressively hostile to his Church...Following the lead of the great masters of religious suspicion -- Sigmund Freud, Karl Marx and Friedrich Nietzsche -- they promote the idea that this world has no intrinsic purpose or any significant meaning."

American Center for Law and Justice on Miguel Estrada's Withdrawal

The Real Anti-Catholic Bias

Are You Now, or Have You Ever Been, Pro-Life? (by Cathleen A. Cleaver, Esq.)

Senators unjustly revive religious test for judges (from The Detroit News)

“For decades, priests in this country abused children in parish after parish while their superiors covered it all up. Now it turns out the orders for this cover up were written in Rome at the highest levels of the Vatican.” That is the way opened its story on August 6. It is a total lie. Nothing in the document even comes close to demonstrating the validity of this scurrilous charge. See CBS: CATHOLIC BASHING SYSTEM

New Deacon Abel Magaña (September 14, 2003)

Bulletin (St. Mary's Parish)

Parish Picture Album

MBC - Mary Bloom Center, Puno, Peru

KRA’s and SMART Goals (updated Sept 2, 2014)

Prayer concern: How can Monroe Pastors better collaborate with our School District?