BACKWARDS AND FORWARDS FROM JESUS
On the front of the altar at St Agatha’s is the Chi-Rho symbol which is made from the first two letters in the word Christ in Greek. To us it looks like a capital X with a capital P superimposed on it. So Christ is central. Flanking the symbol are two other Greek letters: alpha and omega. The first and the last letters of the Greek alphabet (a word, by the way made up of alpha and beta the first and second letters of the same alphabet—but I digress). So our altar proclaim that Jesus is the beginning and the end, the first and the last.
Our history draws its meaning and its sense of direction from the experience of Jesus. We believe that we are created in the image and likeness of God. It is Jesus who portrays this image and likeness most faithfully. He and our Lady (by a special gift of God’s grace for her) never made a mess of that likeness by sin, the deliberate rejection of God’s love and God’s will. When we sin we are saying that we know better than God what is good for us, what will bring us happiness, what will solve the problems of the world. Even though we did not bring ourselves into being we act as if we can do whatever we like with no thought for the consequences. We are created in the image and likeness of God and we shall end sharing in what happened to our Lord himself when he rose from the grave.
We can find ourselves wondering what will human beings be like millennia into the future. What will human beings be like at the end of time. In Christ we catch a glimpse of that end time no matter how far distant it may be. We shall be like him. We shall no longer be constrained by the physical laws of our universe. There will be a new heaven and a new earth. We shall live in harmony with God and with each other. We see some of this here and now in ourselves and in those around us. We see these born again people in the saints who have walked among us.
This centrality of Christ we use to plumb the depths of difficult passages in the scripture such as Abraham being asked to sacrifice his only son. The test seems harsh and cruel even though at the last moment Isaac is spared. Did God really ask this of Abraham? To grapple with this we look at what happened in the life of Christ who as the one proclaimed beloved yet again in the transfiguration was not spared death. Why did the Father not intervene, not send legions of angels to rescue the beloved? There are many responses but one is that a rescue mission would have short-circuited the life-long trust the beloved had in the Father. Trusting in God’s goodness Jesus died. What looked like a disaster and a failure was not the true story. God’s goodness triumphed. Jesus’ trust in that goodness saw the emergence of the full reality of human life. Death, disease and cruelty no longer had the upper hand. This is our future and is to be our present.
Fr Adrian Farrelly
|Mar 18, 2015
|2nd Sunday of Lent 01.03.2015