Every Good Friday we get to listen to scripture passages on The Passion of the Lord. We hear Isaiah’s foretelling of Jesus’s innocence…“condemned though he had done no wrong”. The suffering servant took upon himself our sins; surrendering himself to death, “and he shall take away the sins of many and win pardon for their offenses.”
Then Paul’s letter to the Hebrews affirms Jesus as the great high priest, the Son of God.
And as we participated in John’s Gospel, we place ourselves at the side of Jesus.
- Jesus, the High Priest, sacrifices his own life as atonement for our sins.
Today’s scriptures are “affirmation scriptures” That Jesus Christ is Lord!
- Despite people in the crowd, mocking him, yelling Crucify him! Crucify him!
Yet as Catholics, and even all Christians, we can be mocked by society for our belief in Jesus, our belief in God. We can be mocked even by family members.
Nonbelievers point to natural disasters, cancer, health epidemics, even terrorism.
“If there is a God, where is He? Why does God permit evil to happen?”
Belief in God comes from faith, a faith based on reason, science, and mystery, a faith in which humans don’t have all the answers.
For those who believe, no proof is necessary. For those who don’t believe, no proof is possible.
As Christians, we have the eternal hope that comes from the Cross and Resurrection of Jesus.
God brings hope from despair, and good from evil.
And for those who do not believe, my heart aches. They feel the same despair, pain and anger. But without God, they are left empty and without hope.
This is not to say as Christians that our faith can’t be shaken…because it can.
We all experience pain and suffering, and question God, why? It’s human to do so.
We don’t have to look too hard to see the pain and suffering in the world:
- The terrorists bombing in Brussels. The Zika virus.
- The Father sharing his grieve of his teenager who committed suicide as he and his wife and other son struggle to come to terms with the guilt and the why.
- The death of 3-yr Danielle Bolin killed earlier this week in a car accident.
As Christians we are able to persevere through the love and support of our church community. We don’t have to walk the road to Calvary alone.
That love received from others is the same love that Jesus offers us from the Cross.
For those without a faith, there is no light, just darkness.
On Good Friday, we are reminded to embrace the reality of the cross.
For myself, when I embrace something, I make it my own. It is an ownership of love…a true love.
In the first letter of John, John gives us the definition of God – “God is love.”
…It is not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. (1 Jn 4:8-10)
True love is beautiful, but it can also be painful. The reality is that we are broken people, fearful, sinful and sorrowful people. At times, it can be hard to love ourselves, much less others.
In Christ crucified, the one hanging on the tree, we can see the ultimate true love.
Pope Francis reminds us that “the cross does not speak to us about defeat and failure. It speaks to us of love, the love of God incarnate, a love which does not die, but triumphs over evil and death.”
When we gaze at the crucified Lord on the cross, we re-create the experience of being loved not by our own merits but in spite of the fact that we are sinners. (Repeat)
Today is the day to bring all of those very real human feelings and to venerate the cross. Bring every part of you to the cross – your pains and your joys; your sufferings and your triumphs; your rejections and your gratefulness.
- Pray for all those around you.
- Pray for all of God’s people, and even those who do not know Christ.
- Pray that they will seek and find Jesus.
- Pray for love and the salvation of the world.
Love gives us the courage to embrace the cross and return that love in gratitude.