Translation of full version of original message distributed in a magazine to the attendees before his LIVE address. Text in red is left out from the televised address.
“The Cross is above all things” Saint Yared
When we contemplate about the underlying meaning of the Holy Cross, we find a deeper and broader divine mystery.
When we put all this in short, the Cross is an act of Redemption that started off with a curse, and went through sacrifice to bring about peace and reconciliation, and finished with the last task of salvation of humankind. That is why Saint Yared said the “Cross is above all things”.
Every act of Redemption our Lord, God and Savior Jesus Christ did from His Conception to the day of His Crucifixion is part of the act of the Cross. In other words, every activity of our Lord is an act of Redemption.
It is not difficult to realize that when we talk about redemption and healing, there is a wound and damage that precedes it. The Holy Scripture tells us that humankind was cursed following the sinful fall. That was the wound and the damage.
Christ our God revealed Himself in this world to save us the bearers of the curse on the cross through the cross by carrying our curse. As we understand from the teachings of the Holy Scripture, before Christ anyone who died on the Cross was one who was cursed. Hence it is clear that it was mankind that had the curse of sin who deserved to be crucified on the cross.
That said God through His unspeakable mercy and love He wanted to redeem mankind from the misery of curse and sent His only begotten Son who is free of any curse to be crucified on the Cross as a ransom on behalf of the cursed, thereby saving mankind.
And He in practice fulfilled this on the Cross. For this reason, Adam’s curse file was closed; God and mankind reconciled; peace prevailed; man was saved from the misery of curse as salvation and security is the outcome of reconciliation and peace.
Regarding this the Holy Bible heralds “He made peace to all in heaven and earth through His blood shed on the Cross”
Through Christ’s redemption man received full forgiveness and mercy and became closer to God the Father. That resumed mankind’s partaking in/with God. It is through this Godly mystery that man went in to his prior place, the Paradise.
As this great and astounding love is received through Crucifixion on the Cross, it is said that the “Cross is above anything else”.
The peace-reconciliation and salvation on the Cross didn’t just happen and end there on the day of the Crucifixion. What happened there and then was our Savior Jesus Christ’s act of Redemption. Our own (task of) peace and reconciliation is a homework that we should do on day to day basis without ceasing. We would be mistaken if the sign of the Cross that we have printed on our clothes and tattooed on our bodies is just for the sake of decoration or showing off. As the meaning of the Cross is peace and reconciliation, we should use it to maintain peace and reconciliation between God and us, among us, and between us and nature.
We can dare say there is full peace in our world and our planet only if we have peace and reconciliation with God, with other people, and with nature.
The sign of the cross we display to colorfully decorate our clothes and bodies is for nothing but for it to signal to us, remind us, to inspire us so that peace and reconciliation sinks in to our inner us.
It is therefore necessary to take note that all mankind and more so Christians are appointed as ambassadors of peace and reconciliation in this world.
The Holiday of the Cross we are celebrating today is to reconcile with God as inspired by the great Christian Queen Helena who sought God’s peace and reconciliation and vigorously went out, fulfilled saintly act and achieved religious success.
Taking this opportunity, the message we want to pass on to all the world and to the people of Ethiopia is: “please let’s honor the peace and reconciliation of the Cross”.
[Changed in the live address to]
Taking this opportunity, the message we want to pass on to all the world and to the people of Ethiopia is: “Let’s work hard for peace, love and unity to prevail in the world’
[cut-off from live address]
When we are told about peace and reconciliation, let’s not block our ears; let’s not close our eyes; let’s not turn away our faces, let’s not close our doors.
Peace and reconciliation is certainly an effective insuring medicine to life and property. It is a journey of health and development. Peace and reconciliation is certainly accompanied by victory, not defeat.
Peace and reconciliation is certainly a divine cure that brings (people) closer to God in favor and honor. Thus from this perspective, realizing that the voice being heard about peace and reconciliation is a voice coming from God, not man, our response to it should be positive. Everything else will happen after doing that.
Truth be told, there is no problem whatsoever that can’t be solved through negotiation, dialogue; compromise (give-and-take) and forgiveness. Who prevented us from doing these? What other than these is out there that will benefit us?
If dialogue can’t end all problems, what else can do that? Then why lose life when there is a better alternative? Why destroy properties? Why this cruelty of a brother on his own brother? Even now after all these there is no option other than entering into a dialogue. It would have been good to do that well before reaching this level.
God watches more than anything else us, not the celebration/observation of the Holiday of the Cross. We need to know that celebrating the Cross while we are hostile to each other is a sacrifice that will not be acceptable to God.
Through this lens, what has happened in this great country, Ethiopia, where there are great religious leaders and scholars, famous elders, very educated scholars and matured opposition political parties doesn’t befit our people. It doesn’t go well with our religion and our history. This merits serious thoughts.
From now on rendering what has happened thus far as enough, and putting everything else on hold, in line with the principles of the Cross and using the wisdom of peace and reconciliation, we in the name of God are passing on our fatherly message that we (all) work with determination on life saving activity i.e. to do a strong work to avoid the loss of human life for whatever reason.
Have a good Holiday of the Cross.
May God bless and sanctify Ethiopia and its people.
Glory to God.
Abba Mathias I
Patriarch of Ethiopia, Head of Archbishops, Archbishop of Axum and Itchege of the See of Teklehaymanot
Meskerem 2014 EC