Summary: The nature of our God and of ourselves is revealed in God’s acts in history that culminate in the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.
WHO IS OUR GOD?
And, who are we.
The readings from Holy Week sums up the heart of our faith and reveals God to us. In your private devotions this week, please re-read the last chapters of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John that retell the events from the Triumphal Entry of Christ in to Jerusalem for the last time, and all the events to his resurrection and ascension into heaven. You might also read Isaiah 52 and 53 and Psalm 22.
We see the mighty acts of our God working in a very human history. Ours is not a God that rules from afar. The events of Holy Week reveal a God who is intimately concerned and involved with human affairs. On the other hand, He is not a God to be feared as primitive man feared God and thought that nature was filled with evil spirits.
The Ancient Confessions of Faith of the Church and the Fathers of the English Catholic Church reformation all affirm that God the Father is the Creator of Heaven and Earth. They describe the Son as taking on human flesh, born of Mary and truly suffered, was dead and buried, to reconcile the Father to us, die for our sins.(1) They could as well have said, He died and rose again to reconcile us to the father, for as St. Paul said, we are justified by his death and saved by his life. (2)
He lives to make intercession before God for us. As the writer of Hebrews says, after His resurrection He ascended to the Holy Place in Heaven to the Father, and there as Great High Priest offers all of humanity back to God in union with our offerings here at this Eucharist.(3)
When God entered this world as a baby, when He took on flesh he was saying in a graphic way that all humanity is holy. Human life is sacred.
Just as an ordinary tent those Bedouin Hebrews erected in the wilderness became Holy because God was present, so when God took on human flesh he is saying humanity is capable of holiness when I am there.(4) From the beginning God made man in his own image, and the incarnation affirms that ancient truth.(5) By living as a truly human person, God could show us by the words and deeds of Jesus how we should live out our lives as children of God, guided by the Son of God our elder brother and enlightened by the indwelling Holy Spirit.(6)
When the Mighty Creator God brings the Son out of the grave on the third day, and He ascends to the Father/Creator, that act says that the category of humanity has taken on the sacred and will live with God forever. We ascended to our Heavenly Father along with Jesus Christ.(7)
In late medieval English, the word Goodbye was invented. Originally, it may have sounded something like this: GAUDE BE WITH YE. Later, as it was used, it was slurred to God Be wy’ye. That was changed to God by ’E and then it became good-bye. Similarly, God’s Friday became Good Friday.
Holy Week reveals clearly who God is and who we are.
In the God’s Friday Scene all human frailties and failures are made clear.
We know who we are under those dark Good Friday skies. On God’s Friday there is the followers of a holy man who within a week turn fickle and doubtful and become a blood thirsty mob when they see this Man is not the longed for political liberator.(8)
There were priests and people in high religious office who plot to put to death a person more righteous than they.(9) There is the venal Roman public official who finds no fault in a righteous man but agrees to his death in order to keep peace in a troubled, subjugated province. (10)
There is a person who in the hour of his death curses his fate, and
curses that individual on the center cross, as well as the crowd and all humanity.(11)
There were the friends and followers of the person on the center cross who flee in confusion and fear and sorrow because their leader is arrested, tried, and dying and they don’t know what to do. (12)
There summed up, in one scene is that eternal question the race of man has offered back to God since the days of Job, since the Snake entered Eden.(13)
What is going on here? Why can’t we get along better? Why this evil? Why this suffering? Why must a mother lose a son in such an awful way? Why does a righteous mother suffer? Why persecute a great teacher, a good man who cared for sick people and children and the outcasts; why did they do this to Him?