God knew

A homily preached for Good Friday 2015 in the Abbey of Our Lady of Quarr

God knew it well. He knew from the very beginning that men would not believe. He sent prophets, but they killed them. “He had still one other, a beloved son; finally he sent him to them.” But they came in the night “with lanterns and torches and weapons”, and they “seized and bound him”. They judged him. They delivered him in the hands of the political powers of the time. They mocked him and derided him. Finally, they had him crucified.

The Father knew it well. He knew from the very beginning that love has a price. The world He loved so much, the world He had created as a gift, He now had to buy it again, as it were, He had to redeem it. And the price was not less than His Son. He gave His Son. He sent His Son into the world, not to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him, through a new gift of love, so precious as to be priceless.

The Son knew it well. He knew from the very beginning that he had come to do the will of His Father. He had come for this hour. Which hour? The hour of love, when it would be obvious that he loved the Father and did what the Father commanded him. The hour of death, when he would drink the cup the Father, and no one else, would give him. The hour of glory, when the Son would glorify the Father by the perfect gift of himself: perfect obedience to the Father, perfect love of the Father, perfect sacrifice: “now, I am coming to Thee; for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be consecrated in truth”.

But again, God knew it well. He knew from the beginning that man does not welcome truth. “For this I was born, Jesus said, and for this I have come into the world, to bear witness to the truth.” And Pilate answered for us all: “What is truth?”

But what, if love was not loved and truth was not welcomed? What, if the Gift of God was not accepted? What could God do more?

It was now the time of darkness for the world. Jesus alone stood in the light of truth and love. “Knowing that all was now finished”, Jesus “said (to fulfil the Scripture): ‘I thirst’.”

Once in Samaria, Jesus, wearied with his journey, had asked a woman: “Give me a drink”. Now, at the end of his earthly journey, his body was devastated by a terrible fire. Jesus was crying out the last word of truth, the humble request of love: “I thirst”.

God knew from the beginning that “the weakness of God is stronger than men” and that Jesus’ thirst alone could open in our hearts “a spring of water welling up to eternal life”. God knew that a Christian is a man, a woman, maybe full of sin and imperfection, maybe a very poor disciple indeed, but someone who cannot forget the cry God uttered, once for all, in the history of our world: “I thirst”; the cry of the Crucified God who makes himself beggar of our love in order to be able to give us the fulness of his merciful Love.