Finding God on Gannon’s Campus

Every Holy Week, I look forward to this particular reflection that brings the entire picture of salvation into focus.

What this reflection actually does is bring the Apostles Creed alive with imagery of Jesus descending into hell and bringing Adam out of the darkness. There is a meeting and dialogue follows.

According to the Catechism, Christ went down into the depths of death to rescue those that died before him. It is because of this journey that Catholics believe that Christ now holds the keys to death.

The following is an excerpt from an ancient Easter homily. As you read it, remember that Jesus has our lives with him, both good and bad, when he went to meet Adam:

“What is happening? Today there is a silence over the earth, a great silence and stilness. A great silence because the King sleeps.

The earth was in terror and was still because God slept in the flesh and raised up those who were sleeping from the ages. God has died in the flesh and the underworld has trembled.

Truly he goes to seek out our first parent like a lost sheep. He wishes to visit those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death. He goes to free the prisoner Adam and his fellow prisoner Eve from their pains.

The Lord goes in to them holding his victorious weapon – his cross. When Adam, the first created man, sees him, he strikes his breast in terror and calls out to all, ‘My Lord be with you all.’ Christ said to Adam in reply, ‘And with your spirit.’ Grasping his hand he raises him up.

‘I am your God, who for your sake became your son, who for you and your descendants now speak and command with authority those in prison. Come forth and those in darkness, have light. Those who sleep, Rise.

I command you – awake, sleeper. I have not made you to be held a prisoner in the underworld. Arise from the dead. I am the life of the dead. Arise, man, work of my hands, arise you who were fashioned in my image. Rise, let us go hence, for you’re in me and I in you. Together we are one undivided person.

For you, I, your God, became your son. I, the master, took on your form – that of a slave. I, who am above the heavens, came on earth and under the earth for you. I became a man without help, free among the dead for you.

Look at the spittle on my face, which I received because of you, in order to restore you to that first divine moment of creation. See the blows on my cheeks, which I accepted in order to refashion your distorted form to my own image.

See the scourging of my back, which I accepted in order to disperse the load of your since which was laid upon your back. See my hands, nailed to the tree for a good purpose – for you – who stretched out your hand to the tree for an evil one.

I slept on the cross and a sword pierced my side, for you, who slept in paradise and brought Eve forth from your side. My side healed the pain of your side. My sleep will release you from your sleep in Hades. My sword has checked the sword which was turned against you.

But arise, let us go hence. The enemy has brought you out of the land of paradise. I will reinstate you, no longer in paradise, but on the throne of heaven. I denied you the tree of life, which was a figure, but now I myself am united to you.

I posted the cherubim to guard you as they would a slave. Now I make the cherubim worship you as they would God.

The cherubim throne has been prepared. The bearers are ready and waiting. The bridal chamber is in order. The food is provided. The everlasting houses and rooms are in readiness. The treasures of good things have been opened. The kingdom of heaven has been prepared before the ages.’



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