‘Man makes his own life complex.’ This sentence echoes in me from yesterday’s Lectio Divina. I could not remember it exactly, so I looked it up: ‘Lo, this only have I found, that God hath made man upright; but they have sought out many inventions.’ (Eccl 7:29) We indeed have the ability to create diversity, and multiple choices. The question, however, remains. Do our inventions, in the end, create more options, and enhance our freedom? Or, as Ecclesiastes reached the conclusion, just the opposite. We only get entangled in our cleverness. Our magnificent technical inventions, the book warns, only create the illusion of freedom. Well, we should not forget that Ecclesiastes is a ‘closed system’. Liberation remains out of reach. Redemption is only hoped for, it is unimaginably distant.
Today’s Gospel, the passion of Christ, gives us a not easy answer. Yes, regaining our freedom is possible. We don’t have to deny our ability to create. Regaining control over the milliard fragments of life, can be achieved. However, this re-focusing is possible only through our compassionate turn to Christ’s Passion. Jesus’ trial and redeeming death gives back all our lost freedoms. This freedom is not salvation. The misunderstanding that we can redeem ourselves is our fatal delusion. We need our freedom -our ‘inventions’-in order to respond to what Jesus did for us with our whole being. With our total history. This Passion alone can counteract the centrifugal forces, upon which forces’ cross, our ‘cleverness’ put us. Without the Passion, we remain perpetuated in endless suffering. Or, if the horizon of Ecclesiastes is made whole again, in endless joy. Perhaps, this is expressed so mysteriously, in Lajos Vajda’s enigmatic painting from 1942, ‘Moon in Sunshine’.
These are verbal Icons, expressions of how the world is seen from Saint Augustine's..