Sermon from Fr Trauner of IMBC - Passion Sunday
Posted on 26th March 2020 at 09:52
My dearly beloved in Our Lord,
“Brethren, Christ being come, a high priest of the good things to come – Pontifex futurorum bonorum” (Hebr 9,11, Epistle)
A reproach against Holy Church has often been made – especially among the would-be Catholics after Vatican2: that she is just putting people off till eternity by her teaching about our duty to save our immortal soul. How silly this argument is, becomes more obvious with each day passing in the present turmoil (which is far from over…). How lucky are we to be able to turn our eyes towards that which is not passing or failing anymore – the day of eternity, the good things to come – while we witness the liberal world order falling to pieces!
In ch. 8 of the Gospel according to St John Our Lord speaks about Abraham. He is our father in the Faith, having given us such an extraordinary example of believing in God against all appearances… in believing in hope against hope (cf. Rom 4,18). “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. They answered him: We are the seed of Abraham, and we have never been slaves to any man: how sayest thou: you shall be free? Jesus answered them: Amen, amen I say unto you: that whosoever committeth sin, is the servant of sin.” (VV. 32-34) “I know that you are the children of Abraham: but you seek to kill me, because my word hath no place in you… They answered, and said to him: Abraham is our father. Jesus saith to them: If you be the children of Abraham, do the works of Abraham. But now you seek to kill me, a man who have spoken the truth to you, which I have heard of God. This Abraham did not.” (VV. 37.39-40) “You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and he stood not in the truth… When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father thereof. But if I say the truth, you believe me not.” (VV. 44-45) Then follows the passage of today’s Gospel at the end of which Our Lord clearly professes that he is God: By pronouncing the word “I am” which the Jews must never pronounce, he makes it clear that either he is an eminent blasphemer – as the Jews will conclude – or truly God who had thus manifested Himself to Moses: “I AM WHO AM… HE WHO IS, hath sent me to you.” (Ex 3,14)
These days the Church has celebrated the feast of the Annunciation when the Divine Son become man in the holy and pure womb of the Virgin Mary. God has become man, in order for man to become God, as the great St Augustine says. Our Lord humbled himself in order to exalt us. He has come into the world in order to call us away from this world, towards the true and everlasting reality: “If you had been of the world, the world would love its own: but because you are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.” (Jn 15,19)
The opposition between truth and error or lie; between the unfailing faith of Abraham and belief in science and progress; between love of God eternal and love of things passing is irreconcilable. Peace and reconciliation between these opposites are impossible. One side must be overcome and die – and we know which side that is: “Mors et vita… Life and death in combat fierce engage – Marvel dazzling every age. - Prince of life, by hellish monster slain – Liveth now, shall ever reign.” (Sequence, Easter Sunday). Therefore we must choose ever more deliberately and resolutely on which side we stand, particularly in a time of crisis.
This opposition between Our Lord and his enemies becomes more and more important in the liturgy as we approach the days of his sacred Passion and Death. Any given person will take their stance. Pontius Pilate will ask his smart question: “What is the truth?” and dismiss Our Lord into the hands of his enemies. Judas will seek contact with the Temple, the destruction of which has already been announced by Our Lord; a little later he will seal his fate by killing himself. Peter will be all over the place, first denying knowing Our Lord, but soon weeping sincere tears of penance that would leave their traces on his face for the rest of his life, “communicantes Christi passionibus – partaking of the sufferings of Christ” (1Petr 4,13). Our Lady, comforted and consoled by other holy women and St John, will fulfill her mission of the divine motherhood and assume that of co-redemptrix and universal mediation of grace by persevering at the foot of the Cross, “Stabat Mater dolorosa...”
Our Lord has assigned to each one of us our special place and mission. He knows what he is doing, so let us allow him to lead us on the paths of justice, for his own name’s sake (cf. Ps 22).
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.
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