Homily for the Sunday After the Exaltation
of the Precious and Life-giving Cross
Archpriest Alexander Webster
(September 17/30, 2018)
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.
When the Lord Jesus Christ was crucified, St. Peter the Apostle fled from the Cross!
When the Lord Jesus Christ was crucified, St. James the Apostle fled from the Cross!
When the Lord Jesus Christ was crucified, St. Andrew the Apostle fled from the Cross!
In fact, the only Apostle who stood fast by Jesus in His hour of greatest trial … was St. John—and he was a mere youth! Where were the Apostles, the chosen disciples, those future leaders of the Orthodox Church? Hiding! Scared for their lives! As far from the Cross as they could possibly be in Jerusalem! Oh, how weak-willed, how human in the worst sense they were at that moment! But they were and are not alone in their shame.
I’ve often wondered how many of us Orthodox Christians in America today would be willing to risk our lives for a cause greater than ourselves. How many of us would be willing to suffer for our Lord if confronted by a hostile power—say, a Hitlerian Germany, or a Stalinist Russia, or a fanatical Muslim entity like the Turks of old or Iran today, or some rogue terrorist organization. ISIS, anyone? Or even our ownU.S. government, if it were to turn on us Orthodox Christians? How many of us would gladly take up the Cross? How many of us would not flee?