“I’ll take ‘Dowager Empresses’ for $400, Alex.”

I hope you’re sitting down when you read this.  Ready?  This Sunday there’s going to be something a little different at Mass – the color will be changing from green to red.  

Okay, why?  This Sunday, the normal flow of Ordinary Time is interrupted for the feast of the Exaltation of the Cross.  This feast commemorates the finding of the True Cross in 326 by St. Helena, the mother of Constantine (the Roman Emperor who legalized Christianity). 

So it’s a bit of a big deal, but why does it take over a Sunday?  After all, there are all sorts of important events in 2,000+ years of Christian history that don’t even get feasts, much less feasts that trump the normal Sunday readings?  In addition to being part of Catholics’ unfair advantage in trivia quizzes (“I’ll take ‘Dowager Empresses’ for $400, Alex.”)…

…there are other reasons that this shows up on Sunday. One reason is part of the reason why Catholics make such a big deal about the relics of saints – it reminds us that Christianity is not a religion of “once upon a time,” but a religion based on God’s direct interruption into history.  

We’ll look at an even bigger reason that this feast shows up tomorrow.