June 1st 2024


The 10th Century High Cross at Moone, Co. Kildare, is the finest example of what are known as scripture crosses, named after the Cross of the Scriptures at Clonmacnois which is referred in the Annals (1060) as Cross na Screaptra.  Some 30 high crosses show on their shafts and bases a limited number of narrative scenes from the Old and New Testaments.  Although the over all form is cross-like these standing stone monuments are not crucifixes.   True, they are topped with the form of a cross, which usually includes the figure of Christ, but it is something other than a crucifixion narrative. Rather, it is a symbolic representation of Christ.  The structure is a monumental presentation of multiple stories of God’s gracious presence in our world. The high crosses were placed at the boundary of the monastic enclosure as if to demarcate sanctuary or holy ground.  Our St Dominic does something similar. They may also have had a catechetical function.  But set beside the insular Books of the Gospels, perhaps they served as sacred objects in themselves.  Again to compare, have you ever put your hand in the hand of our St Dominic?   The relative positioning of the various subjects seems to be significant. The south face of the base of the high cross at Moone has, from top to bottom, the three in the fiery furnace, the flight into Egypt and the loaves and the fishes.  Vertically, the theme is God’s care for his faithful through adversity.  The crowds who were fed were hungry, tired and weary: “like sheep without a shepherd”.  In the act feeding, Jesus becomes their shepherd, yet, quite unusually, he is not shown. We see just the loaves and the fishes.  (A forerunner of the still life?) For Christian eyes, the very absence of Christ implies his presence in the loaves of bread which in their simplicity are so striking. Like the 12 on the adjacent face of the base, this positioning of the loaves and fishes suggests the fundamental importance of the Eucharist in the Christian life, which we celebrate in today’s Solemnity of Corpus Christi.  Next Sunday four of our children, will make their first communion at 10am. Let’s remember them and their parents in our prayers this week and maybe we all be thankful for all that the ways in which he feeds us. 


Edinburgh Catholic Chaplaincy

The Catholic Chaplaincy serves the students and staff of the University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh Napier University and Queen Margaret University.

The Catholic Chaplaincy is also a parish of the Archdiocese of St Andrews and Edinburgh (the Parish of St Albert the Great) and all Catholic students and staff are automatically members of this parish.

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