.- Scottish Cardinal Keith OâBrienâs Easter Sunday homily will call for Christians to make the cross more prominent in their lives and to wear crosses as signs of their desire to love and serve others as Jesus Christ did.
âI 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,â the Archbishop of St. Andrews and Edinburgh said in an April 7 statement.
The cardinal will deliver his homily, which was provided in advance to CNA, in Edinburghâs St. Maryâs Cathedral on Easter, April 8. In it he will reflect on the cross and its role in Christian life.
Easter, the cardinal will say, marks the âTriumph of the Crossâ when Jesus âconquered deathâ and sent his disciples to continue his mission.
His remarks come at a time of controversy over the role of Christianity in U.K. public life. Two British women who were disciplined for wearing a cross at work are taking their case before the European Court of Human Rights, alleging religious discrimination.
While the cardinal does not specifically mention the case, he says the cross should not be a problem for others. Instead, they should see it as an indication of Christiansâ desire to love and serve others.
âSo 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 marginalized,â the cardinal says in his homily.
âPerhaps 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.â
âWhether on a simple chain or pinned to a lapel, the cross identifies us as disciples of Christ,â he adds.
Cardinal OâBrien will also look at how the cross is evident throughout Christian life.
Christians are baptized with the Sign of the Cross, which is often the first devotion taught to children. Believers begin and end each day by making the sign, and the cross is displayed on the flags of both Scotland and the United Kingdom.
The use of this sign is not a âmorbid way of looking backâ on Jesusâ sufferings. Instead, it is a sign that Christians are trying to follow âthe path set out for us by Christ himself.â
âIt was through his sufferings on the cross that he achieved the glory of the Resurrection â a transformation that can have parallels in many of our own lives,â Cardinal OâBrien says.
He also mentions Pope Benedict XVIâs concerns about religion being marginalized, which he made known in Londonâs Westminster Hall in September 2010. The Pope said that religion is not a problem but a âvital contributorâ to the national conversation.
Cardinal OâBrien said these words were a âgreat clarion callâ for Christians to emphasize that no government or public bodies should be âfrightenedâ of Christians but should see them as collaborators.