Fr. Bloomfield's Blog

I am a Roman Catholic Priest of the Archdiocese of Detroit, currently assigned to Divine Child Parish in Dearborn, Michigan. When I manage to keep the page updated, hopefully something interesting can be found here!

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Faith Seeking Understanding for September 11, 2005

As Louisiana, Mississippi, Florida, and Alabama begin to recover and rebuild in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, we remember today another crisis our country faced just four years ago. The tragic events of September 11, 2001, however, were not the result of weather patterns or a natural disaster, but the consequences of human freedom. The evil choices made by the terrorists affect our lives even today, but we must not become discouraged or lose our determination. We continue to pray for our soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines who are daily defending our freedom; please remember them and their sacrifices often in your prayers. They rely on our support and encouragement to boost their morale and stamina in difficult times and challenging duties. When I was returning (in uniform) from my ROTC chaplain rotation at Ft. Lewis, Washington, several people stopped me and thanked me for my service to our country. I was surprised at first, but very touched and honored. Such a small act of generosity has great results; when you see them, please thank our men and women in uniform for their service and assure them of our prayers.

Interestingly enough, the readings from this Sunday speak strongly of forgiveness. Do we, I wonder, pray often for the forgiveness of our enemies? Do we pray for their conversion?

This week, the Church celebrates an ancient feast: the Exaltation of the Holy Cross. On September 14, the Church commemorates the finding of the relics of the True Cross in Jerusalem by St. Helena, the mother of Emperor Constantine, in approximately 326 A.D. Along with the Cross (most likely the base of the Cross, not the crossbeam) was also discovered the title that Pilate had affixed over the head of Jesus (“Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews”, cf. John 19:19). Scholars and historians debate about the exact manner in which the Cross was discovered, but several healing miracles were attributed to the relics and hence declared to be the authentic remains of the wood of the Cross on which Jesus died.

The feast is celebrated in September because it marks the date of the dedication of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem, in which the relics were first kept. Currently, the relics of the Cross, the title, a nail, a thorn from the crown of thorns, and St. Thomas’ index finger can be found in Rome, at the Church of Santa Croce in Gerusalemme, just east of the Basilica of St. John Lateran.

Spiritually, we can derive great fruit from meditating on the mysterious “Triumph” of the Cross. On Good Friday, the Cross seemed anything but triumphant. Jesus had been killed; the Messiah was defeated; God was dead. The power of God, however, is stronger than the grave, and the Resurrection reminds us of the victory of the Cross: Christ the King “reigning from the Tree,” as the medieval monks so often put it. We can always be reminded to unite our sufferings to Christ on the Cross. By placing our own apparent defeats upon the Cross, Christ will transform them into His certain victory. Meditation on the Cross of Christ can help us grow in sorrow for our sins when we see the great mercy of God; we in turn will also be reminded to be merciful to our neighbor. We must always be grateful for the Cross and continue to daily conform our lives to its meaning.

The planning for the October 2006 pilgrimage is underway; please call me at the office if you’re interested. Also, Heartland Health Care (a skilled nursing facility on Lilley Rd.) has asked me to help provide religious support to their Catholic patients. If anyone is interested in distributing Holy Communion to our homebound parishioners (or especially at Heartland), please let me know. Have a blessed week and please pray for the victims of Hurricane Katrina and for our troops.