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Embargoed: 00.01 Saturday 7 April 2012

Cardinal's Easter Homily

In his Easter Sunday Homily which will be preached in St. Mary's Cathedral,
Edinburgh on Sunday 8 April, Cardinal Keith O'Brien will call for Christians
to identify with the cross and make it more prominent in their lives.

When he preaches in his Cathedral on Easter Sunday, the Cardinal will say
that the cross should be an important part of people's lives suggesting that
every Christian should; "wear proudly a symbol of the cross of Christ on
their garments each and every day of their lives"

He will add: "I know that many of you do wear such a cross of Christ “ not
in any ostentatious way, not in a way that might harm you at your work or
recreation, but a simple indication that you value the role of Jesus Christ
in the history of the world, that you are trying to live by Christ s
standards in your own daily life"

The Cardinal will refer to remarks made by Pope Benedict XVI at Westminster
Hall in 2010 when he said that Christians, "need to be free to act in
accordance with their own principles and specific convictions based upon the
faith and the official teachings of the Church"

Speaking ahead of his Easter Sunday Homily, Cardinal O'Brien said;

"I hope that increasing numbers of Christians adopt the practice of wearing
a cross in a simple and discreet way as a symbol of their beliefs. Easter
provides the ideal time to remind ourselves of the centrality of the cross
in our Christian faith."

"A simple lapel cross pin costs around £1, since this is less than a
chocolate Easter egg I hope many people will consider giving some as a gifts
and wearing them with pride."

ENDS

Peter Kearney  
Director  
Catholic Media Office
5 St. Vincent Place
Glasgow  
G1 2DH  
0141 221 1168
07968 122291  
pk@scmo.org  
www.scmo.org

Notes to Editors:

1. Cardinal O'Brien will celebrate the Easter Sunday Mass at St. Mary's
Cathedral in Edinburgh on Sunday 8 April at 11.30am

2. The full text of the Cardinal's Homily is shown below.

3. A JPEG image of Cardinal O'Brien wearing a lapel pin cross is available here: http://www.scmo.org.uk/articles/cardinal-obrien-lapel-pin-cross.html




MASS OF EASTER SUNDAY MORNING
 
HOMILY PREACHED BY CARDINAL KEITH PATRICK O BRIEN
 
ST MARY S CATHEDRAL, EDINBURGH
 
SUNDAY 8TH APRIL 2012
 
INTRODUCTION:
 
Today we celebrate the joy of Easter Sunday morning “ having concluded the
season of Lent and more especially this past Holy Week.   Just one Sunday
ago, we commemorated the triumphant entry of Jesus into Jerusalem, being
greeted by the peoples with the waving of palms.   In our own liturgies,
again central to our celebration was our commemoration of that solemn entry
of Jesus “ with each one of us having some form of palm in our hands, many
folded into the form of a cross.
 
On Holy Thursday we commemorated the institution by Jesus of the Sacraments
of the Holy Eucharist and of the Priesthood in our liturgy “ and also
remembered the great humility of Jesus in washing the feet of his disciples.
 
On Good Friday itself, we remembered the passion and death of Jesus “ and
showed by our veneration of the cross our love of that crucified Lord and
our own determination to follow in his footsteps.
 
Now on this Easter Sunday morning, following on our Vigil ceremonies
yesterday evening, we celebrate the ˜Triumph of the Cross “ when Jesus
conquered death, left the tomb and sent his disciples to continue his
mission.
 
Central to our liturgy is the cross “ its testament and its triumph. Veiled
in purple in the earlier part of Holy Week, then changed into the white of
joy, it is a reminder of the glory of the Resurrection.
 
 
IMPORTANCE OF THE CROSS IN OUR LIVES:
 
For all Christians, the symbol of the cross is central to our faith.
 
When we are baptised it is with the sign of the cross;   perhaps the first
sign we learn to make is that ˜Sign of the Cross taught at our mother s
knee;   in our homes and in our schools, it is with the sign of the cross
that we begin and end each day;   when we celebrate our great act of worship
in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, again we begin and end with that sign of
the cross;   and here in Scotland, as indeed in our flag of the United
Kingdom, the signs of the cross represent the nations of the United Kingdom
in the crosses of St. Andrew and St. George.
 
When we use the sign of the cross, it is not in any way because of a morbid
way of looking back on the sufferings of Jesus Christ himself, the Son of
God.   Rather, it is a sign that we ourselves are trying to follow in some
way or another, no matter how weak we are, the path set out for us by Christ
himself.   It was through his sufferings on the cross that he achieved the
glory of the Resurrection “ a transformation that can have parallels in many
of our own lives.
We should always see in the cross a sign of God s love for us and an
indication of our own intention to reach out in love for others, whether or
not they profess the same Christian faith as ourselves, whatever their
lifestyles or lack of belief in any formal religion.
 
I think that is the reason why, as Christians, we honour that sign of the
cross of Christ “ we want to witness to the Kingdom of Christ, we want to
spread the Church to every corner of the world, and we want to work in
charity in a spirit of faith and love.
 
 
THE SIGN OF THE CROSS IN OUR TIMES:
 
So often the teachings of Jesus Christ are divided and ignored;   so often
those who try to live a Christian life are made fun of and ridiculed and
marginalised.
 
Perhaps the more regular use of that sign of the cross might become an
indication of our desire to live close to that same Christ who suffered and
died for us, and whose symbol we are proud to bear.
 
Displaying the Sign of the Cross, the cross of Christ should not be a
problem for others “ but rather they should see in that sign an indication
of our own desire to love and to serve all peoples in imitation of that love
and service of Jesus Christ.
 
Just 18 months ago, Pope Benedict XVI stood in Westminster Hall in London
addressing a vast audience of politicians, diplomats, academics and business
leaders.   There he clearly stated that:   Religion is not a problem for
legislators to solve, but a vital contributor to the national
conversation.     In this light, I cannot but voice my concern at the
increasing marginalisation of religion, particularly of Christianity, that
is taking place in some quarters, even in nations which place a great
emphasis on tolerance .
 
Those words were a great clarion call for Christians at this present time to
emphasise that no governments or public bodies should be frightened of
Christians and their influence.   Rather, they should seek closer
collaboration with them as having something important to say and to do “
namely to offer their services in whatever way to those in any sort of need
in our country.   Marginalisation of religion should not be taking place at
this present time “ rather the opposite.   Here in our own country where we
do place a great emphasis on tolerance, surely our Christianity should be an
indication to others of our desire, while living our Catholic Christian
lives to tolerate others who do not have our same values.
 
 
CONCLUSION:
 
So on this Easter Sunday morning, I suggest something very simple to you.  
When the Pope addressed those leaders in Westminster Hall, his cross was
visible over his robes “ as indeed the cross is visible over the garments of
every Cardinal and Bishop.
 
Why shouldn t each and every Christian similarly wear proudly a symbol of
the cross of Christ on their garments each and every day of their lives.   I
know that many of you do wear such a cross of Christ “ not in any
ostentatious way, not in a way that might harm you at your work or
recreation, but a simple indication that you value the role of Jesus Christ
in the history of the world, that you are trying to live by Christ s
standards in your own daily life and that you are only too willing to reach
out a hand of help to others, as did Jesus Christ when he was on earth.
Whether on a simple chain or pinned to a lapel, the cross identifies us as
disciples of Christ and we should wear it with pride.
 


 
When concluding his speech in Westminster Hall, Pope Benedict XVI spoke of
the harmony and co-operation which should be possible between the Church and
public bodies.   He indicated that for this to be fruitful, religious bodies
need to be free to act in accordance with their own principles and specific
convictions based upon the faith and the official teachings of the Church .
 
This co-operation is indeed looked for by our Church in this country and I
think that that symbol of the cross of Christ, worn frequently by our
Catholic community and by Christians of all denominations, is an indication
of our desire to live by Christian standards and to hand on those standards
to others as best we can, living in a spirit of co-operation.
 
May God indeed bless you all at this Eastertide and now, having moved from
that spirit of suffering with Christ, may we continue to rejoice in the
Triumph of the Cross, the Glory of his Resurrection.

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