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Good Friday Cathedral Church of All Saints MKE

Good Friday Cathedral Church of All Saints MKE

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Published by TheLivingChurchdocs
On this day, in Simone Weil’s wonderful phrase, “God’s Quest for Man has come to its inevitable conclusion.”
On this day, in Simone Weil’s wonderful phrase, “God’s Quest for Man has come to its inevitable conclusion.”

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Published by: TheLivingChurchdocs on Apr 18, 2014
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04/17/2015

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Homily for Good Friday, Year A
(
RCL
)
 Cathedral Church of All Saints
Fr. Matthew S. C. Olver Milwaukee, Wisconsin 18 April 2014 12 noon
 T
HE
L
OVE THAT
D
IED
,
 AND
N
EVER
D
IES
 
Jesus says to the Rich Young Ruler: “Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone.” In the
!
 Name of the crucified God, Jesus, Son of Mary. Amen. “Why do you call me good?” Jesus asks. Good. This is not the word we expect. We use it as a synonym for “nice,” or maybe something that’s just slightly better than neutral. But it’s quite clear when Jesus uses the word, it means nothing of the sort. We call this day, Good Friday. While most of us have known nothing different, it is unusual among global Christians. In fact, no one is quite certain how this title became fixed to this day in the English-speaking world. In the Latin books, it is called the “Day of Preparation;” in the Greek Liturgy, “Holy and Great Friday;” the Germans speak of “Sorrowful Friday.”
1
 “When the Rich Young Ruler asks what he must do to inherit eternal life, Jesus replies, “No one is good but God alone.”
2
 But “Good” seems rather paltry, doesn’t it, to describe Jesus, the Word through whom all things were made, Son of God and Son of Mary, “God incarnate, Man Divine,” He who is both Priest and Victim? And yet we have it from the lips of Jesus Himself. And so, for the Church, “good” is an altogether fitting word to describe the day that Jesus made His own, and crowned it with glory on the tree. “Good,” let us understand, is not a synonym for “pleasant” but is something altogether more resplendent. When we speak of Good Friday, we speak of the day whose beauty and perfection “cannot be touched or reduced by evil.” To call God “good” is pray with Jesus in His Prayer, “hallowed be thy Name.” To call this day, “Good,” is to gather up the whole of the Christian faith in a single Word. There is only one thing that could bring about the death of the God-Man. This day is good—it has become hallowed and glorified—because on this day, in Simone Weil’s wonderful phrase, “God’s Quest for Man has come to its inevitable conclusion.” He went in quest of man, not to conquer him, but to destroy that liar and deceiver who has thrust himself on to the throne in our souls. The destruction of that liar took place when Jesus is lifted up and Satan is thrown down under His feet; the very feet, in fact, that Satan nailed to the tree. But the application, the transfer, of that destruction into your soul and my soul—that is what “being a Christian” is all about. That’s the ball game, right there: The bulk of the Christian life is the slow  process of realizing that because “I do not do what I want” to do, but instead “do the very thing I hate.” The only option is for God to act, for God to live in us, for it to be no longer I, but Christ who lives and acts and speaks in me. There are many of you who are here really love God, you want your lives to mean something for him. You want to have a prayer life that’s more than just reciting prayers and
1
 http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/06643a.htm.
2
 Luke 18:19
 
2 |
Page
 
knowing when to stand or kneel or make the sign of the cross. You want something that could actually be called a relationship with God. You want what the prophets—Jeremiah, and Ezekiel and Zechariah—all tell us that God wants with us: “I will be their God, and they shall be my  people.”
3
 Last night, the Gospel passage that describes the foot washing begins like this: “When Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.”
4
 The call today is clear: enter into this love. But I think many of us wonder why this doesn’t push deeper into our souls. Often, familiarity  breeds…ambivalence. Part of the problem is that we work with a very skewed and weak conception of love. We use the word in so many ways: We love a movie; we love our new coffee maker; we love a particular wine. When I use the same word to speak of my relationship to my son, or of my marriage to my wife, can I mean anything remotely similar? Do I mean that I like family, except with more intensity than the movie or the wine? Love must mean something more than this. The secret lies in one of Jesus’ Last Words.
Consummatum
. “It is finished.” These are the final words of Jesus as recorded by St. John. Listen to that one, single Latin word again:
consummatum
. It is consummated. Martin Luther remarks, “In this word, ‘It is finished,’ will I comfort myself. I am forced to confess that all my finishing of the will of God is imperfect, piecemeal work.”
5
 A nineteenth century English  bishop goes on to explain that, “It is far from unlikely that such a word, spoken on such an occasion, by such a person, at such a moment, just before death, contains depths which no one has ever completely fathomed. No one single meaning, we may be sure, exhausts the whole  phrase. It is rich and full and replete with deep truths:
 
Here our God, as Daniel had foretold, has “finished transgression, made an end of sin, made reconciliation for iniquity and brought in everlasting righteousness.”
6
 
 
Here, our Lord has finished the work of keeping God’s holy Law “to the uttermost, as our Head and representative, and Satan had found nothing in Him.”
7
 
 
Here, the prophesies of the Old Covenant are perfectly fulfilled: as the Seed of the woman, he bruised the serpent’s head,
8
 dying “for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous… being put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit.”
9
 
 
Here, the sufferings, the Passion of the Son of God, has come to fulfillment and thus come to an end. He had “finished his course;” “the storm was over,” “the worst was passed;” “the cup of suffering was at last drained to the very dregs.”
10
 
 
There is nothing else that could ever be done. But there is one thing that none of these descriptions has yet touched, and it is the basic sense of the word “consummate.” We use this phrase to speak of a couple’s wedding night, when
3
 Jeremiah 24:7; 31:33; 32:38; Ezekiel 11:20; 37:23; 37:27; Zechariah 8:8. These are cited in II Corinthians 6:16 and Hebrews 8:10.
4
 John 13:1
5
 Quoted in J.C. Ryle,
 John , volume three
(Banner of Truth Trust, 1999), 363.
6
 Ryle,
 John
, 362
7
 Ryle,
 John
, 362
8
 Ryle,
 John
, 363.
9
 I Peter 3:18
10
 Ryle,
 John
, 363.

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