Holy Cross Day

14 September -- Festival -- Red

The cross on which our Lord was crucified has become the universal symbol for Christianity, replacing the fish symbol of the early church, though the latter has been revived in recent times. After the end of the persecution era, early in the fourth century, pilgrims began to travel to Jerusalem to visit and pray at the places associated with the life of Jesus. Helena, the mother of the emperor, was a Christian and, whilst overseeing excavations in the city, is said to have uncovered a cross, which many believed to be the Cross of Christ. A basilica was built on the site of the Holy Sepulchre and dedicated on this day in the year 335.

Collect

Almighty God,
who in the passion of your blessèd Son
made an instrument of painful death
to be for us the means of life and peace:
grant us so to glory in the cross of Christ
that we may gladly suffer for his sake;
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

A reading from the book Numbers.

From Mount Hor, Moses and the people of Israel set out by the way to the Red Sea, to go around the land of Edom; but the people became impatient on the way. The people spoke against God and against Moses, "Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and we detest this miserable food." Then the Lord sent poisonous serpents among the people, and they bit the people, so that many Israelites died. The people came to Moses and said, "We have sinned by speaking against the Lord and against you; pray to the Lord to take away the serpents from us." So Moses prayed for the people. And the Lord said to Moses, "Make a poisonous serpent, and set it on a pole; and everyone who is bitten shall look at it and live." So Moses made a serpent of bronze, and put it upon a pole; and whenever a serpent bit someone, that person would look at the serpent of bronze and live."

This is the word of the Lord.         Numbers 21. 4-9

Responsorial Psalm

RYou are the Holy One, O God,
[enthroned on the praises of Israel].
The Lord does not despise nor abhor
the poor in their poverty;
neither does he hide his face from them;
but when they cry to him he hears them. R

My praise is of him in the great assembly;
I will perform my vows
in the presence of those who worship him. R

The poor shall eat and be satisfied,
and those who seek the Lord shall praise him:
"May your heart live for ever!" R

All the ends of the earth
shall remember and turn to the Lord,
and all the families of the nations shall bow before him. R

For kingship belongs to the Lord: he rules over the nations.
To him alone all who sleep in the earth
bow down in worship;
all who go down to the dust fall before him. R         From Psalm 22

A reading from the Letter of Paul to the Philippians.

Though he was in the form of God, Jesus did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being born in human likeness. And being found in human form, he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death -- even death on a cross. Therefore God also highly exalted him and gave him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

This is the word of the Lord.         Philippians 2. 6-11

Hear the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to John.

Jesus said to Nicodemus, "No one has ascended into heaven except the one who descended from heaven, the Son of Man. And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life. For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life. Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him."

This is the gospel of Christ.         John 3. 13-17

Post Communion

Faithful God,
whose Son bore our sins in his body on the tree
and gave us this sacrament to show forth his death
   until he comes:
give us grace to glory in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ,
for he is our salvation, our life and our hope,
who reigns as Lord, now and for ever.