Good Friday

lent2016

Reading Matt 11

25 At that time Jesus said, ‘I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. 26 Yes, Father, for this is what you were pleased to do.

27 ‘All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.

28 ‘Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.’

 

"Come to me, all you that are weary" (Matt 11:28). Augustine realized that God had opened a new and unknown road in front of him, one that leads to the thing he so desired: true happiness. He also understood that one does not need philosophical preparation and the ability to conduct complicated theoretical deductions, for the Christian God is completely different than what he had previously thought.

"He is gentle and humble of heart, and you have hidden these things from the sagacious and shrewd, and revealed them to little ones. It is one thing to survey our peaceful homeland from a wooded height but fail to find the way there, and make vain attempts to travel through impassable terrain, while fugitive deserters marshalled by the lion and the dragon obstruct and lurk in the ambush; and quite another to walk steadily in the way that leads there, along the well-built road opened up by the heavenly emperor."

God, who is gentle and humble of heart; God who hides great truths from the sagacious and shrewd and reveals them to little ones; God who points the way to the land of differently defined happiness—these are the new elements in Augustine’s idea of God. He is now aware of the mistakes he has made in life. He vividly depicts a peaceful homeland that he had seen but could not find a way into it, so he wandered the wastelands among threats and ambushes.

He can see the way now, so he knows where to go and who awaits him. On this Good Friday, we leave Augustine, who now crosses the threshold of faith. On this day we recall the unique path walked by Christ two thousand years ago, as he traversed Jerusalem’s Via Dolorosa bearing his heavy cross. All of us Christians, throughout the ages, followed in his footsteps. They walked the road leading to the kingdom of God of which Jesus spoke and St. Augustine wrote.

"Give us peace, Lord God, for you have given us all else; give us the peace that is repose, the peace of Sabbath, and the peace that knows no evening. This whole order of exceedingly good things, intensely beautiful as it is, will pass away when it has served its purpose: these things too will have their morning and their evening. But the seventh day has no evening and sinks toward no sunset, for you sanctified it that it might abide for ever."’