Sermon Preached by Fr Nicolas Stebbing CR at St Mary, Bourne Street, London on Holy Wednesday (4 April) 2012
“The Son of Man is going to his fate but alas for that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed”.
Was it all so inevitable? Did
Jesus have to go on this dreadful path to his death? He knew Judas would betray
him. Why did he not try to dissuade him? Why did he go to the
Jesus was obedient to his
father; that is why he died. We too are called to obedience. In
We ourselves are being obedient
this week, coming to mass day after day, walking with Jesus on the way of the
Cross. We don’t have to do it; there may be many things we would rather do but
we are sure this is what God wants us to do and we are happy to do it. In this
way we share in the obedience of Christ. More surprisingly we share in his
salvation of the world. The Anglicans in
Yet obedience sounds a bit grim. It sounds like boarding school, or the army, or a dog’s training school. How is this about the freedom of the Gospel of Christ? Well, remember that the word ‘obedience’ comes from the Latin word Audire – to hear, to listen. Jesus listened to God and heard what he said and because he loved God he did it. We actually love to obey those we love. It is part of the joy of love. We love God and we love Jesus and so this obedience of Holy Week becomes a joy, not a grim duty. Isaiah tells us, “Each morning he wakes me to hear, to listen like a disciple. The Lord has opened my ear….”
If we want to love God we have to be obedient to him; if we are obedient we will discover his love. If we seek to listen, to hear the voice of God we will hear it as a call of love and then obedience will become a joy – as it is today in this mass, when he says “Do this in remembrance of me…” We obey his command to do this and find we can receive his own body and blood. What could be a greater proof of his love?
Nicolas Stebbing CR