Tuesday 15 April 2014

Passion Sunday - Br Andrew

St- Andre-Rublev's Saviour
Holy Redeemer

In the care of the Ecumenical Franciscan Order

Homily preached at Winmalee on Sunday 13th April  2014 by Br. Andrew

Did God the Father forsake Jesus Christ?   As stated in Matthew 27:46?

Passion Gospel

Yes, God did forsake Jesus and this is why it was necessary:

In his letter to the Romans Paul explains that when we sin we separate ourselves from God, (3:23) he turns his face way from us because He cannot look upon sin and the ultimate penalty for our sins, our “wages” is death.(6:23)
If we had chosen the first passion Gospel today we would have heard the passage telling us of Jesus’ agony in the Garden of Gethsemane; we would have heard him say "My Father, if this cup can't pass away from me unless I drink it, your desire be done."
When Jesus took our sins upon himself, when he took responsibility for our sins and agreed to receive our wages of death God the Father had to turn his face away from his beloved son and forsake him until the penalty was paid. In putting all our sins behind his back God forsook his son. This was the cup Jesus feared to drink.

The most terrifying thing that Jesus faced when he made Atonement for our sins was to be separated from his Father, to be loved less than the world for which he was sacrificed as we read in the Gospel of John chapter three; “16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal life.

To be abandoned by his Father not only in his flesh but also in his Spirit :- during the three hours of darkness Jesus spent dying on the cross the Trinitarian relationship was fractured. In turning his face away from Jesus in hiding our sins behind his back, the eternal Word turned also – leaving the incarnate one no more human than anyone else except that he was the most perfect human being that ever lived, the only sacrifice fit to justify us before the heavenly courts.

It was an unimaginably terrifying experience, I cannot think of words to describe what could have happened. Reading the accounts of the Passion in the Gospels and our readings from Isaiah and the Psalm place words into the mouth of an otherwise silent Christ to grant us insight into the turmoil that raged within his heart and mind as he struggled to surrender himself to his Father’s will.

From the clamour of the crowds Jesus heard his own words thrown back into his face, those crucified with him, with the Pharisees Elders and scribes reproached him ‘You who destroy the temple, and build it in three days, save yourself!’ ‘He trusts in God. Let God deliver him now, if he wants him; for he said, ‘I am the Son of God’.

Matthew 27:46 About the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, "Eli, Eli, lima sabachthani?" That is, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? "They gave him vinegar to drink and waited for Elijah to come and save him,
Jesus has drunk of the cup from which he feared to drink and has been deserted, abandoned by God; - Finally Jesus cried again with a loud voice, and yielded up his spirit, he gave his life for us; it was not taken from him.

In Philippians chapter 2 verses 7 and 8 St. Paul speaks of this unimaginably terrifying experience as an emptying, an act of obedience unto death.

We know that at this point that Trinity is restored since earlier in the Record of the Passion in Luke chapter 23:43 we read that Jesus told the good thief; that today you will be with me in Paradise.”

Matthew records earthquakes with rocks splitting in two enabling the opening of the tombs of long since dead Holy ones who witnessed in Jerusalem after Jesus’ own resurrection. These resurrections were symbolic, showing that the resurrection of Christ is the resurrection of the race --.the witnessing in Jerusalem after Jesus’ resurrection – that he is the first born from the dead.

[The veil was the heavy curtain which hung between the holy and the most holy places in the sanctuary. By excluding from the most holy place everyone except the high priest, who was the only one allowed to pass through it, and then only once in the year, it signified that the way into the holiest -- that is, into heaven -- was not yet made manifest while the first tabernacle was standing (Heb. ix.7, 8).]

But the moment that Jesus died, thus making the way manifest, the veil was appropriately rent in twain from top to bottom, disclosing the most holy place to the priests who were at that time offering the evening incense in the holy place.
If anyone is aware of attempting to keep God out of the way behind a veil in their mind it can’t be forever, putting off the decision to commit their lives to him by accepting the salvific death of Christ and his resurrection to eternal life…
We do not know the day or the hour…