Good Morning! Last week, we celebrated the Birth of Our Lady. Today we celebrate the Feast of the Holy Cross. The word FEAST means festival, just like the Mid-Autumn Festival, which we will celebrate very soon. Let’s start off today’s Morning Prayer with a Bible passage on page 24. [READING]
From this reading, we understand three things. First, Jesus is HUMBLE. We say someone is humble when someone is not proud; someone does not believe that he is important, and he always tries to lower himself. For example, Jane is a humble student. She has excellent results in her exams but she does not go around and tell everybody. She keeps a low profile. Despite her good results, she does not look down upon her classmates who do not do as well as she does. Jesus is such a person. He is the Son of God. Being the Son of God, Jesus could enjoy a lot of privileges, good things. But he gave up all he had, as the Bible says, and he became a human being – just like you and me.
The word humble is an adjective and we can use the word humble as a verb. In the prayer section, we say Christ humbled himself. We say that Christ humbled himself, meaning Christ made himself humble. So if you get 100 marks for your dictionary, your teacher may ask you not to laugh at other students who are not as smart as you are. So we can say: your teacher asks you to humble yourself. Your teacher asks you to be humble.
Second, the word obedient is an adjective, meaning doing what you have been told. We say someone is obedient when someone obeys rules and orders. Obedient – spelt with a “t” – you have an adjective. Obedience – spelt with “ce” – you have a noun. Both words come from obey. To obey means to listen to and follow rules and order. In the Bible passage, we say Christ walked the path of obedience, meaning Christ was very obedient.
Finally, we notice the word cross. I am sure you understand what the cross is. Christ died on the cross for us – even it was very painful for him. He did it because he loves us very much. That’s why we have the festival, the feast, of today: Feast of the Holy Cross. The actual date of the Feast of the Holy Cross is 14 September, yesterday. The origin of this feast is quite interesting. There was a Queen Helena who was the mother of the King, the Roman Emperor Constantine many years ago. Queen Helena loved Jesus very much because Jesus loves every one of us deeply. Christ loves us so much that he died on the cross. So, Queen Helena went to the Holy Land, that is today’s Israel, to look for the cross on which Jesus died. It was many years ago on this day that Queen Helena found that cross.
Think for a moment, Jesus died on the cross – and I can tell you it is not pleasant to die in that way. But Jesus was humble and obedient. He humbled himself and he obeyed God the Father. Well, we all have our crosses to bear: not a real cross, but hardships or difficulties that we have to face in life. Going to school everyday may be a cross to you. Having a naughty little brother or a noisy baby sister may be a cross for you. Do you know what my cross is? You can find that out if you log on to the Friday morning prayer blog at http://friday-morning-prayer.blogspot.com/
I don't think I have only one cross but many crosses to bear... I will just name one. I have poor vision. My left eye is long-sighted and by right eye is near-sighted. As a result, I cannot see three-dimension well. That's why I am not good at ballgames. Even with glasses on, I cannot see clearly with my left eye only.
If you are reading this now, that means you have logged on to our friday-morning-prayer website! Congratulations! I am pleased that you are here. The first five students who come to see me would get a little gift. When you come to see me, please say: "I have visited the morning prayer website. Please give me the promised gift."
Let us now have some music. Please turn to page 9: All Flowers Will Sing. I am sure if all flowers will really sing, but I do hope all of you will sing. [Song] We will just sing the 3rd verse.
Notice in the third verse, we sing: “every cross that we encounter can become our golden wings.” In simple English, it means every cross that we face can make us fly. For Jesus, his cross is his “golden wings” because God raised him to the highest place. “Every time we embrace it, everlasting peace it brings.” Here the “it” refers to the cross. Christ embraced his cross because he was humble and obedient. My dear students, please do not be troubled by the cross that we have to take up. Christ has endured, has persevered, has taken up his own cross and with his help and following his example, our own crosses can become golden wings for us.
So let us pray – (The prayer is on page 24) – let us ask Lord Jesus to bring us to the glory of his kingdom. Please respond clearly and loudly.
Brother William Ng OFM