Of John Chrysostom and the Triumph of the Cross

This Fountain (of the Holy Eucharist) is a fountain of light, shedding abundant rays of truth. And beside it the angelic powers from on high have taken their stand, gazing on the beauty of its streams, since they perceive more clearly than we the power of what lies before us and its unapproachable dazzling rays.
St John Chrysostom, bishop and doctor of the Church

“There flowed from his side water and blood”. Beloved, do not pass over this mystery without thought; it has yet another hidden meaning, which I will explain to you. I said that water and blood symbolized baptism and the holy eucharist. From these two sacraments the Church is born: from baptism, “the cleansing water that gives rebirth and renewal through the Holy Spirit”, and from the holy eucharist. Since the symbols of baptism and the Eucharist flowed from his side, it was from his side that Christ fashioned the Church, as he had fashioned Eve from the side of Adam. Moses gives a hint of this when he tells the story of the first man and makes him exclaim: “Bone from my bones and flesh from my flesh!” As God then took a rib from Adam’s side to fashion a woman, so Christ has given us blood and water from his side to fashion the Church. God took the rib when Adam was in a deep sleep, and in the same way Christ gave us the blood and the water after his own death… Do you understand, then, how Christ has united his bride to himself and what food he gives us all to eat? By one and the same food we are both brought into being and nourished. As a woman nourishes her child with her own blood and milk, so does Christ unceasingly nourish with his own blood those to whom he himself has given life.
St John Chrysostom, bishop and doctor of the Church

First reading, Proper of Saints, September 13
Letter of St Paul to the Ephesians 4 : 1-7, 11-13

I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to lead a life worthy of your vocation. Bear with one another charitably, in complete selflessness, gentleness and patience. Do all you can to preserve the unity of the Spirit by the peace that binds you together. There is one Body, one Spirit, just as you were all called into one and the same hope when you were called. There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and one God who is Father of all, over all, through all, and within all.

Each one of us, however, has been given his own share of grace, given as Christ allotted it. To some his gift was that they should be apostles; to some, prophets; to some, evangelists; to some, pastors and teachers; so that the saints together make a unity in the work of service, building up the body of Christ. In this way we are all to come to unity in faith and in our knowledge of the Son of God, until we become the perfect Man, fully mature with the fullness of Christ himself.

Dear children! Today I invite you all to rejoice in the life which God gives you. Little children, rejoice in God, the Creator, because He has created you so wonderfully. Pray that your life be joyful thanksgiving which flows out of your heart like a river of joy. Little children, give thanks unceasingly for all that you possess, for each little gift which God has given you, so that a joyful blessing always comes down from God upon your life. Thank you for having responded to my call. August 25, 1988

The above photograph of Our Lady’s image reflected in the leg of the Risen Christ sculpture at Medjugorje was taken two years ago on September 14, 2006, the Feast of the Triumph of the Cross. The top picture showing a ‘lance of light’ stemming from the side of Jesus was also taken in Medjugorje, last year, October 14, 2007.

The theme of the Mass on that October day was Thanksgiving. The Missal explanation reads: Today we come to give thanks to God and to offer sacrifice to him for having made known to us his salvation and cleansed us from our sins.

Part of the opening prayer contained these words: Father in heaven… Go before us in our pilgrimage of life, anticipate our needs and prevent our falling. Send your Spirit to unite us in faith, that sharing in your service, we may rejoice in your presence.

The Gospel acclamation for the day reads: Your word are spirit, Lord, and they are life: you have the message of eternal life.

Interestingly, the solar flare on the photograph is reminiscent of the soldier’s lance that pierced the right side of Jesus, from which flowed blood and water, representative of the Church and its Sacraments. The flare is also representative of the tongue of fire associated with the Holy Spirit – “living water” as described by St John in his Gospel. It is from this wound that the Sacred Heart of Jesus is revealed, and from which flows his infinite love and mercy. On a personal note, I see this photograph as a reminder that Medjugorje truly is a place of sacramental and sanctifying grace.

“Jesus stood there and cried out: ‘If any man is thirsty, let him come to me! Let the man come and drink – who believes in me!’ As Scripture says:, From his breast shall flow fountains of living water. He was speaking of the Spirit which those who believed in him were to receive…“ John 7 : 37-39

Lifted high on the cross, Christ gave his life for us, so much did he love us. From his wounded side flowed blood and water, the fountain of Sacramental life in the Church. To his open heart the Saviour invites all men, to draw water in joy from the springs of salvation. (from the Preface of the Mass of the Sacred Heart)

His nails and spear cry to me that I am thoroughly reconciled to Christ, if I but love him. Longinus has opened me Christ’s side with his spear, and I am gone into it and there do I rest in safety. St Augustine

I have come to bring fire to the earth, and how I wish it were blazing already! Luke 12 : 49

Dear children! Also today I call all of you for your hearts to blaze with more ardent love for the Crucified, and do not forget that, out of love for you, He gave His life so that you may be saved. Little children, meditate and pray that your heart may be open to God’s love. Thank you for having responded to my call. September 25, 2007

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