Passion Sunday – 3 April – Our Lenten Journey with the Great Fathers – Hebrews 9:11-15, John 8:46-59.
“Rescue me from my enemies, O Lord; teach me to do Your will.” – Psalm 142:9-10
“Amen, amen, I say to you,
if anyone keep My word,
he will never see death.”
WE SEE THAT DEATH is gain, life is loss. Paul says: For me life is Christ and death a gain. What does “Christ” mean but to die in the body and receive the Breath of Life? Let us then die with Christ, to live with Christ. We should have a daily familiarity with death, a daily desire for death. By this kind of detachment our soul must learn to free itself from the desires of the body. It must soar above earthly lusts to a place where they cannot come near, to hold it fast. It must take on the likeness of death, to avoid the punishment of death. The law of our fallen nature is at war with the law of our reason and subjects the law of reason, to the law of error. What is the remedy? Who will set me free from this body of death? The grace of God, through Jesus Christ, our Lord.
WE HAVE A DOCTOR to heal us; let us use the remedy He prescribes. The remedy is the grace of Christ, the dead body, our own. Let us then be exiles from our body, so as not to be exiles from Christ. Although we are still in the body, let us not give ourselves to the things of the body. We must not reject the natural rights of the body but, we must desire, before all else, the gifts of grace.
WHAT MORE need be said? It was by the death of One Man that the world was Redeemed. Christ did not need to die, if He did not wish to but He did not look on death as something to be despised, something to be avoided and He could have found no better means to save us, than by dying. Thus His Death is Life for all. We are sealed with the Sign of His Death – when we pray, we preach His Death, when we offer Sacrifice we proclaim His Death. His Death is Victory; His Death is a Sacred Sign; each year His Death is celebrated with solemnity by the whole world.” – St Ambrose (340-397) Bishop of Milan, Great Father and Doctor of the Church (An excerpt from his work, On the death of Satyrus [Saint Ambrose’s brother])