14 April 2006

Rejoice! He is dead

Good Friday 2005: Is 52.13-53.12; Heb 4.14-16, 5.7-9; Jn 18.1-19.42
Fr. Philip N. Powell, OP
Church of the Incarnation, University of Dallas

Hear it!
Why do we do this every year? Why do we celebrate betrayal, abandonment, and brutality. Why do we attend this Good Friday’s party of violence?

Our celebration of Christ’s Passion on Good Friday is as perverse an event as any we might conjure. Or, it would be if we were to settle for watching from the crowd, coolly watching events as they unfold. It is not enough to observe. Not enough to stand behind the crowd not caring. Our apathy, our lack of passion for Christ’s suffering and death for us, that will make today’s celebration truly perverse.

Rejoice then with each rip in His flesh. Rejoice with each drop of blood. Rejoice at the anguish of his betrayal, at the sting of his abandonment. Rejoice that He freely accepted this pain for you, instead of you. Rejoice! Or, cry. Or laugh. Or love Him more. But do not fall into the loneliness of not caring—that Pit is a Darkness older than humanity, and It is desperately hungry for your soul.

By the cross we are redeemed, by Christ’s willing sacrifice of himself we are saved from the Pit that would eat us for eternity. Christ freely choose to make his pain and death redemptive for us, to give his pain as our pain so that we might know the way to the Father. Without it we are lost and alone—forever.

Walk up and venerate the cross, the altar of Christ’s sacrifice for us, and offer your joy, your anger, your hatred, your love, your gratitude…offer something passionate to Christ and know that the loneliness you fear is dispelled. Who can be truly alone who lives in the presence of a Loving God? And that is what our redemption is about: living now with God in a friendship that takes us to a life with Him forever.

Walk up, touch the tool of your redemption, give yourself passionately to him. And rejoice! Give thanks!

Our Savior is dead.

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