Beloved brethren, today we venerate the Holy and Life-giving Cross of Our Lord, glorifying Him for His great sacrifice for us and His victory over death, and proclaiming that in the Cross alone is our salvation and the salvation of all men.
The Holy Church holds up the Cross before us today to encourage us in the struggle of Great Lent. Today is the half-way point between Clean Monday, the beginning of Great Lent, and Palm Sunday, the beginning of Holy Week. This Wednesday will be the half-way point between Clean Monday and the Radiant Resurrection of Christ, Holy Pascha. Often during the middle of Lent, it is easy to become discouraged in our spiritual struggle, and we need the strength that comes from the Cross of the Lord. When we embrace His Cross wholeheartedly, we are proclaiming that we are willing to endure any sufferings needed in this life to find our salvation, and that, by uniting our sufferings to His holy and pure sufferings, our sufferings acquire infinite, divine value; infinite, divine power to cleanse us from our sins and save us for all eternity.
Today man is confused, running this way and that looking for answers. People are afraid, anxious, and their minds are clouded by a thousand worries and a thousand fears. Man has come to this state because he is trying to find all his happiness here on earth; he is trying to build a Paradise on earth without God the Holy Trinity, without faith in Christ. He does not want to believe in Christ; he does not want to believe that man is sinful and needs a redeemer. He thinks that he can use his tiny brain to explain all evil as something political or social or economic or psychological. But we know that it is not so! Evil comes from the devil and from man's sin in cooperation with the devil. And the only way out, the only solution, is Christ, Who sacrificed Himself on the Cross! The only way out is up, to the Heavenly Kingdom, by the power of the Cross!
Let us, then, kiss the Holy Cross today with great love and reverence, with holy fear. When we kiss the Cross, we are making a promise to Christ - to be faithful to Him, to follow Him to Golgotha, to embrace His Passion by faith, to accept our own little crosses, our own sufferings, with hope in His mercy. This is the only way! And He, the great Bridegroom of our souls and lover of mankind, will come to us, and He will save us!
To Him be the glory with the Father and the Holy Spirit, unto the ages of ages! Amen.