I had a homily written, but then did a Pope Francis and set the homily aside in favor of letting the Spirit preach instead. So if you want to hear it, you’ll have to listen!
The Carthusian monks have a phrase: “stat crux dum volvitur orbis.” The cross stands still while the world turns. You have noticed that for this Mass I’ve placed a cross there on the altar, and that when I incense the altar I move around it. The cross, and the one, perfect sacrifice of Christ taking place before it, remain what they are even as the whole world moves. What can separate us from this love? Can trial or distress or persecution or nakedness or danger or the sword be the means by which we are removed from this act of love? No; in all of the travail of the world, which finds its culmination in death, we are more than conquerors because of what took place on that cross and of what takes place on this altar.
Tonight, let us ask for the grace to view death not as an enemy, but as a friend. Death for the Christian believer is merely a doorway into life, truer life than anything we could have ever imagined here. Death is the door that will allow us to fully know the Father; so why do we fear it? Why do we fear the junction that will take us from this valley of tears and bring us further up, bring us further in, to a life of inexplicable light, warmth, and joy?
As we wait for death, which comes, whether we want it to or not, like a bus in the night, let us remember that the most beautiful things, by far, are yet to come. Are we willing to surrender to Jesus in every moment of this life; are we willing to climb that cross which stands still; are we willing to place ourselves – our past, present, and future, our very lives – upon this altar; are we willing to die with him in order that his promise of life forever might be fulfilled?
While the world turns, the Cross of Christ stands forever.