April 2014

Dear Parishioners:

We once again find ourselves looking toward Holy Week and Easter this month. Once again we find the answer to our most terrible questions. Where is God when evil seems to overwhelm us? Does God care that children are being killed by other children? Where is God when I am in pain and sorrow? Contrary to our experience, is God consistently reliable against evil, all evil? To get at the answer we must carefully look at what happened at the end of Jesus’ life.

The nature of sin is alienation from God and the goodness of God, so that the goodness of God is no longer understood. Nothing of His goodness; not His love, not His forgiveness, not His mercy, not His power and glory, can be understood as long as sin clouds the human mind. It is this fact that caused Jesus’ death. Sin blinding men is what killed Him. He died at the hands of blind men. “I came,” Jesus said, “to give sight to the blind, and to take sight from those who say they see.”(John 9:39)

Because of sin, all those who held the fate of Jesus in their hands could not see the truth about this man. He is innocent but they can’t see it. Strictly speaking, it is sin which condemns Jesus.

Our own sins may be many or few, but we are all involved in the sinful situation of our race. We live by choosing, choosing between self and God. And sometime or another we have all chosen self, and that is the opposite of love; and that is sin. Why do people not see the hand of God? We are blinded in our sin.

Choosing self-separates us from God; sin is separation. But God hates this separation, and means to destroy everything that causes it. “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and wickedness of men who by their wickedness suppress the truth.” (Romans 1:18)

Jesus is love, the love of God in the flesh; it is a love that contains all goodness. But condemned by sin, Jesus’ love is so self-less, He chooses to accept the verdict of sin—that He is a sinner. If sin proclaims Him guilty, so be it. He chooses to take upon Himself that which sin sees in Him, the sin of all men and women who have ever lived or ever will live.

He, who knew no sin, chooses to become sin for us. And what is the upshot? That men crucify him. Not only that, but in the crucifixion He feels all the wrath of His Father–the wrath of the Father against the Son.

The wrath of God, as St. Paul tells us, is against all ungodliness and unrighteousness, not against men and women, themselves. But Jesus must experience the separation of sin from His Father because He has chosen to become sin and so he cries out from the Cross: “My God, My god, why has Thou forsaken me.”

Jesus becomes the focal point, the place where all sin is gathered, and God’s wrath can be directed against it, and destroy it. And we see it happening.

It is here at the cross we find our terrible questions about God answered. Evils, injustices, moral failures, distresses and sorrows surround and we cry out, does God care? Does God care that children are killing other children? Does He care that a mother is taken away from her young children by cancer. Does He care that so many have to make their way through life unloved by anyone?

And in our daily life itself there is a hardness, a stress, unavoidable failure as we strain after goodness and kindness and love, that grinds and fossilizes us against our own will.

Does God care? Contrary to our experience, is God consistently reliable against evil, all evil? The cross is the answer. All evil is here as if under a magnifying glass. In the passion of Christ, the wrath of God is revealed. Here the righteousness, the overflowing, forceful, energizing holiness of God is finally revealed for all to see.

If you want to know if God cares about evil, look here. God will go to all lengths against evil, even the length of killing His own Son to deliver mankind from it.
Because we, along with all who have ever lived, have taken into ourselves impiety, ungodliness (something deliberately anti- God), and unrighteousness (sinning out of weakness and selfishness) and made them our own, made them by our choices part of ourselves; because of that, God’s rescue from evil is a rescue from ourselves, that is our false selves.

But because it is a rescue from ourselves, it cannot but be painful. Take up your cross and follow me; as Christians the pain of our daily lives is one with the cross. Was God successful in destroying all sin and evil on the cross? Don’t look at yourself; we are still on the cross. Look at Easter for the “wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through our Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23)

I hope to see you at all the services offered in Holy Week, especially Maundy Thursday; The Good Friday Liturgy; The Great Vigil of Easter or the Sunday of the Resurrection. Come participate in the great salvific act of our God.

Fr. K+

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