Sunday, February 14, 2016
Christ the Gardener
A nice succinct 'Go to Confession' pastoral letter from our Bishop this morning
And a nice little reminder in the Preface of the context of the first Sunday of Lent, "by overturning the snares of the ancient serpent".
Christ enters the desert, it is the post fall world, the derelict garden, the dwelling place of the serpent, the ancient enemy. The desert is the Garden of Eden wrecked and rendered desolate by our primal disobedience. God gave us as a home a fertile garden and we have turned it into a barren desert. St Benedict says, "by the labour of obedience you may return to Him from whom you had departed by the sloth of disobedience." St Benedict wished to create a hortus conclusus, a closed garden for spiritual battle. and eventual salvation.
Christ enters the derelict garden of the desert. As Adam and Eve were driven out by an angel, Jesus is driven into it by the Spirit. It is both a metaphor for the world and the human heart. Here he battles with the enemy and is eventually restored the company of angels.
In a garden he conforms his human will, which by nature shuns death to conform it in obedience to his divine will which desires our salvation, thus restores mankind to obedience to the Father first lost by our parents. In the garden again he, God, is betrayed by Judas, the ultimate consequence of the sin of Adam, In a garden he is crucified on the tree, not of the Knowledge of Good and Evil but now on the other one, the Tree of Life, ravaged by sin . In a garden he rises from the dead.
No wonder our Holy Patroness the Magdalene mistakes him for the gardener!
Posted by Fr Ray Blake