06 April 2012

"It is finished. . ." and begun.

Good Friday 2012
Fr. Philip Neri Powell, OP
St. Dominic Church, NOLA

Our Lord takes a sip of wine and sighs, “It is finished.” Our Lord is dead. Do we mourn? Do we rejoice? His mortal life is finished, and now we. . .what?. . .celebrate/remember/grieve. He is finished; his work is done. And whatever we choose to do with his passing, our pilgrimage to lives eternal is just beginning. The poet, W. H. Auden, chose to dwell at the cross on Good Friday. He writes:

Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
Scribbling in the sky the message 'He is dead'[. . .]

I thought that love would last forever, I was wrong
The stars are not wanted now, put out every one
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood
For nothing now can ever come to any good.*

Mr. Auden was wrong. . .about being wrong. Love does last forever and there is no need to empty creation of its stars and oceans and woods. Come Easter morning—we know—that Christ's tomb is empty and all creation is brought back to Love. But for today, our Lord is dead. And the good he brings seems forever away. Do we mourn? Rejoice? Do we laugh or cry? Whatever we do, we take one step toward eternity. 

* Stop All the Clocks, W. H. Auden, 1937.  This poem was written as lyrics for a play.  The subject of the poem is a deceased politician, not Christ; however, I thought the idea of the poem fit well with Good Friday.  

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