Let us not judge, I repeat, the person whom only God knows. The consequences, however, that his proclamation has had we can and must judge. It has been declined in the most diverse ways and names, to the point of becoming a fashion and an atmosphere that reigns in the intellectual circles of the “post modern” Western world. The common denominator is a total relativism in every field – ethics, language, philosophy, art, and, of course, religion. Nothing more is solid; everything is liquid, or even vaporous. At the time of Romanticism, people used to bask in melancholy, today in nihilism!
As believers, it is our duty to show what there is behind, or underneath, that proclamation, namely the flicker of an ancient flame, the sudden eruption of a volcano that has never been extinguished since the beginning of the world. The human drama also had its “prologue in heaven,” in that “spirit of denial” which did not accept existing in the grace of another. Since then, he has been recruiting supporters of his cause, the naive Adam and Eve being his first victims. “You will be like gods, knowing good from evil” (Gen 3:5).
All this seems to modern man nothing but an etiological myth to explain the evil in the world. And – in the positive sense given to myth today – such it is! But history, literature, and our own personal experience tell us that behind this “myth,” there is a transcendent truth that no historical account or philosophical reasoning could convey to us.
God knows how proud we are and has come to our help by emptying himself in front of us. Christ Jesus,
though he was in the form of God,
did not regard equality with God something to be grasped.
Rather, he emptied himself,
taking the form of a slave,
coming in human likeness;
and found human in appearance,
he humbled himself,
(Story continues below)
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becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross (Phil 2:6-8).
“God? We killed him: you and me!” shouts the “madman”. This dreadful thing was, in fact, realized once in human history, but in quite a different sense. For it’s true, brothers and sisters: It was us – you and me who have killed Jesus of Nazareth! He died for our sins and for those of the whole world (1Jn 2:2)! The Resurrection of Christ from the dead assures us, however, that if we repent this path does not lead to defeat, but to that “apotheosis of life” sought in vain elsewhere.
Why are we talking about all this during a Good Friday liturgy? Not to convince atheists that God is not dead. The most famous among them discovered it on their own, at the very moment they closed their eyes to the light – better, to the darkness – of this world. As for those still living among us, means other than the words of an old preacher are needed to convince them. Means that the Lord will not fail to grant to those who have a heart open to the truth, for whom we are going to intercede in the universal prayer that will follow.
No, the real purpose is another; it is to keep believers – who knows, perhaps even just one or two university students – from being drawn into this vortex of nihilism which is the true “black hole” of the spiritual universe. The purpose is to let Dante Alighieri’s warning resound again among us:
Christians, be ye more serious in your movements;
Be ye not like a feather at each wind,