Friday, 3 April 2015

The very crux of our faith - the movement of the biggest story of all

On this Good Friday we enter into the greatest of mysteries and the very crux of our faith. And it is about the triumphant movement of the biggest story of all – the story of the human race. 

In the origins of the human race we were created in goodness and love. Originally God made us in His own image and likeness. We lived in complete harmony and freedom. Made with freedom to love or not love, we were tested and alas failed the test. Satan tempted Eve, and then after Eve had fallen, she tempted Adam who also fell. Our ancient human ancestors fell from grace and innocence. The consequences of this fall were sin and death. We now did not freely delight in doing the good; instead we delighted in doing what was wrong. All the children and descendants of Adam and Eve suffer from this. And the fruit of this is all the evil we see in the world.

And we all inherit from our ancestors this propensity towards sin, which means in the end, death (real eternal death).  And so of course we need saving – we really, really need salvation, because, otherwise, all there is, is death for eternity (that’s what we call hell). So we need lifting up from this original sin and all our sins.  And the story of our salvation is a movement. It is a movement of descending and ascending, as St Paul puts so beautifully in his Philippian hymn (Phil 2:1-12).  God descends and becomes Man, that by our union with Him, we might ascend from our fallen state, and enjoy everlasting life (which is what we call heaven). 

That sounds great until we realise the price of the descending.  For the healing to happen, Christ must enter obediently into the heart of our problem. The heart of our problem is sin. The only perfect, good man must submit Himself to become the victim of injustice, hatred, untruth, disobedience and evil – the whole gamut of our fallen nature – that He might enter even into death itself.  By facing death in obedience, in truth, in righteousness, in total goodness and in perfect love, He is able to conquer death; to conquer evil; to conquer our fallen-ness; to conquer sin. This is how the victory occurs and it is wonderful but it is also awful at the same time.

Christ our God became the Priest and Sacrifice in the great Mass offered for us on the Cross, and His death, made present in every Mass thereafter, brings us the grace of this victory, and indeed the grace through all the Sacraments.

And so we rejoice this day in the Triumph of the Cross of our Saviour Jesus Christ.  We glory in His victory, yes bought at such an awful price, yet a wondrous and glorious and entirely complete triumph over sin, death and evil.  Our Enemy is defeated and we rejoice! It is truly a Good day.

Fr Ian

DAY NINE (Eve of Pentecost)