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Meskel (The Feast of the Holy Cross) Part 1

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, One God, Amen!

This article is prepared by Mahibere Kidusan USA Center

Meskel መስቀል(The Feast of the Holy Cross)

Prior to the era of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, a cross was used as an instrument of punishment. This method of painful execution was started in Persia (the present day Iran). During that time, the Persians were worshiping an “earth god” called “Ormuzd”. They believed that if an offender is punished while in con-tact with the ground, he would desecrate their “earth god”. As a result, they started crucifying criminals far above the ground on a cross. Execution by crucifix-ion slowly expanded and became a common practice of the Roman Empire. In addition, before the birth of Christ, victims of crucifixion were considered cursed. As God said to Moses, "If a man has committed a sin worthy of death, and he is put to death, and you hang him on a tree, his body shall not remain overnight on the tree, but you shall surely bury him that day, so that you do not defile the land which the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance; for he who is hanged is accursed of God” (Deuteronomy 21:22- 23). We may then ask ourselves, “If a victim of crucifixion is considered cursed, why did our Lord Jesus Christ die on a cross?"

Please proceed to Part 2

 

Meskel (The Feast of the Holy Cross) Part 2

This article is prepared by Mahibere Kidusan USA Center

"Why Did Our Lord Jesus Christ Die on a Cross?"

Our Lord Jesus Christ willingly died for us on a cross and gave us His holy body and poured out His pre-cious blood. He did this to redeem mankind from the curse and save us from our sins. This is because the body and soul of all humanity was under the bondage of sin. Although we had fallen deeper and deeper into our sins, our Creator did not leave us to perish. He came down from heaven seeking for His sheep, us, who went astray (Matthew 18: 12-14). He was incar-nated of the Holy Spirit and of His mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary (Luke 1:35), became man by taking flesh of her flesh and soul from her soul, and was gloriously born in a manger in Bethlehem (Luke 2:7). Indivisibly, God became man and man became God (Matthew16:13, 1 John 1:1-2, 5:20). He grew and became strong in spirit (Luke 2:40). At the age of thirty, Christ went to river Jordan and was baptized in the hands of Saint John, the Baptist. He then left for the wilderness (desert) and embarked upon forty days and forty nights of fast (Matthew 3:13-17, Luke 3:21- 23, Matthew 4:2). Thereafter, He appointed His 12 apostles, 72 disciples and 36 female saints (i.e. alto-gether the first family of Christ was hundred and twenty) (Luke 10:1, Acts 1:15). His teachings of the Gospel lasted for a total of three years and three months. Finally, to redeem us from our sins (curse), He willingly died for us on the Cross. (Mark 15:23- 37). That day on the Cross, Jesus Christ completed the salvation journey He started while He was still in His Blessed Mother’s womb (John 19:30).

 

Meskel (The Feast of the Holy Cross) Part 3

This article is prepared by Mahibere Kidusan USA Center

1. We Have Found the Gift of Life

As a result of our sins, death had reigned over our lives. Through Adam, sin entered the world and death was passed on to all mankind. Therefore, death reigned over mankind until it was destroyed through Jesus Christ and we were able to regain life (Romans 5:12-14). That is why it is said, "For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive." (1 Corin-thians 15:22). In addition, it is said, "among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others. But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved)" (Ephesians 2:3-5). This is because our Savior Jesus Christ abol-ished death through His own death and gave us life and immortality (2 Timothy 1:10).

Please proceed to Part 4

 

Meskel (The Feast of the Holy Cross) Part 4

This article is prepared by Mahibere Kidusan USA Center

2. We Have Found the Bread of Life

When Adam and Eve ate the fruit of the forbidden tree, sin entered the world and brought death upon us (Genesis 3:1-24). The man of God who had come from Judah died also as a result of eating what he was told not to eat (1 Kings 13:20-25). The manna that the forefathers of the Israelites ate in the desert did not save them from death either (John 6:49). There-fore, our Savior Jesus Christ gave us His flesh and blood as the bread of life and saved us from death. He confirmed this to us by saying, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day." (John 6:53- 54). The Holy Eucharist that is consecrated in our church everyday and we faithfully receive in the form of bread and wine is truly Jesus Christ’s holy body and precious blood (Matthews 26:26-29). That is why Saint Paul the apostle said, "therefore whoever eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord in an unwor-thy manner will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body." (1 Corinthians 11:27-30). 

Please proceed to Part 5

 

Meskel (The Feast of the Holy Cross) Part 5

This article is prepared by Mahibere Kidusan USA Center

3. We Have Found Peace

 Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ said, "Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you," and He gave us this ultimate peace on the Cross. He confirmed this to His apostles when He resurrected from the dead and said, "Peace be with you." (John 14:27; 20:19, 26). In reference to this, Saint Paul said to the Colossians, "For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell, and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross" (Colossians 1:19-20). He also said to the Ephesians, "But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For He Himself is our peace" (Ephesians 2:13 -14).

Please proceed to Part 6