Bright Monday (2019)

Bright Monday

Christ is risen!  Truly He is risen!

In order to lead us up to this presence, the Son of God had first to come down to us, to take on himself “flesh and blood”, so as in it to annihilate the power of enmity which kept us from approaching God.

Since the children (of a family) share the same flesh and blood, he too shared ours, so that through death he might destroy him who held the power of death, that is, the devil, and might deliver all those who through fear of death, were subject to servitude all their lives long [Hebrews 2:14-15].

This beautiful text, as has been noted, is the New Testament passage most frequently quoted by the Fathers of the Church in explaining why Christ had to die. Better than any other, it sums up the victorious struggle against the powers of evil in which, as St. Paul (especially in his last Epistles), the Synoptics (especially St. Mark) and St. John all agree, is to be found the meaning of the Cross.

Yet the author of the Epistle does not go on to devote himself to this aspect. Not that it seems unimportant to him; on the contrary, it is absolutely essential to his vision, with the emphasis that he places on the blood that must be shed to cleanse from sin. But it is the other aspect of the reality that concerns him. To him, freedom from sin, from the devil and from death is not an end in itself. It is the indispensable prerequisite for mankind’s access to the divine presence. This access itself is what he has most at heart. And, we might say, if there is anything purely Paulinian in this Epistle, it is certainly this very idea. A leitmotif phrase from the Epistle to the Ephesians might serve to summarize the Epistle to the Hebrews: “Through him (Christ) we have access to the Father” [Eph 2:18]  

(Louis Bouyer, The Spirituality of the New Testament and the Fathers, pp. 144-145)