St. Helena got back to Constantinople and convinced her son to erect a basilica over the spot on which Christ died and was buried. In 335 the basilica was finally ready, and the priests lifted high the Cross of Christ with this chant: “Ave Crux, spes unica!” Hail O Cross, our only hope! Behold this cross, an instrument of the vilest pagan torture, now become the jeweled sign of our salvation. No tragedy, no suffering, no evil can overcome redeeming health this Cross affords to those who believe. In the presence of this Cross, hope shines into the darkest despair.
Once I came upon a terrible accident on I-580. A woman had lost control and rolled her little Mazda into the median. Both her girls were dead, and the paramedics brought me to her just after they had told her this. I held out a 3-inch wooden cross from my emergency kit. She wordlessly pressed that cross to her lips as EMTs lifted her into the mediflight.
In September 2001, a fireman found steel beams twisted into a perfect cross in the wreckage of World Trade Tower #2. It became an icon of hope in the midst of the most senseless tragedy of our time.
Today your priests, and your Archbishop, will clothe themselves in red vestments. It is on the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross that Archbishop Cordileone has chosen to visit our parish, and to offer the sacrifice of the Mass here in our sanctuary. We welcome him, and we adore the Holy Cross with him. May we cling to the Cross of Christ, like that unfortunate mother on the freeway. May we Hail the Cross of Christ, our only hope!z