Good morning good people.
May the Lord give you peace. We celebrate the Lord’s Passion on Good Friday.
Are we willing to surrender our life to the Lord?
We reflect on Isaiah 52:13-53:12; Hebrews 4:14-16, 5:7-9; and from John 18:1-19:42.
Silence falls on the Church as we experience the emptiness and pain that is inflicted by death of Our Lord and Saviour. Darkness prevails hope seems to subside. Only through the eyes of faith, we can witness the plan of God in our favour.
We are invited to reflect about the surrender, sacrifice, and symbol of Jesus.
The first reading is the fourth song of the suffering servant of God. “Ours were the sufferings he bore, ours the sorrows he carried.” (Is.53:4) For the sake of love, Jesus went through everything. He bore crowning of thorns, insulting speeches, nail pain, a journey of hunger, thirst and exhaustion culminating in crucifixion on the Cross. “Yet he was pierced through for our faults, crushed for our sins. On him lies a punishment that brings us peace, and through his wounds we are healed.” (Is.53:5).
Jesus went through so much to demonstrate the unbelievable love of God out of obedience to the Father. “For surrendering himself to death and letting himself be taken for a sinner, while he was bearing the faults of many and praying all the time for sinners.” (Is.53:12). Jesus faced it all fearlessly and courageously all the suffering for our sake. “By his sufferings shall my servant justify many, taking their faults on himself.” (Is.53:11).
As Jesus surrendered to the will of the Father, so we need to. The Holy Father Francis reminds us, “Am I a Christian of the culture of comfort, or am I a Christian who accompanies Jesus to the Cross?” What is the sure sign that we are Christians who follow Jesus to the Cross? He responded: “the ability to endure humiliation. The Christian who does not agree with the Lord’s plan is only halfway down the road: he is tepid. He is good and he does good things”, but he continues unwilling to endure humiliation, and he wonders “why does this happen to him, and not to me?”
It is not merely a day of mourning for and being sorry for the Lord and His death, but it is a day we need to look into ourselves and see how many persons we have unjustly crucified, and condemned to death?
The responsorial Psalm echoes the words of Jesus on the Cross, “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.” (Lk.23:46).
In the second reading, the author highlights the suffering of Jesus as the proof of obedience to save us all. “Although he was a Son, he learned obedience through what he suffered; and having been made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him.” Thomas Merton talks about the Cross and Suffering: “it is of the very essence of Christianity to face suffering and death not because they are good, not because they have meaning, but because the resurrection of Jesus has robbed them of their meaning.”
“It is finished. “And bowing his head, he handed over the spirit (Jn 19:28-30). God solidarize with humanity torn by sins and division. This was the moment that links us all with the divine mercy of God. It is the sacred moment for all those who believe in Jesus. His unmatchable sacrifice that has brought us all closer to God and to experience God’s mercy and forgiveness for all. Without sacrifice and surrender there is no love. Self-emptying of Jesus inspires us to have self-giving. Surrender and sacrifice are connected. The suffering of Jesus is being echoed in all our physical pain, and emotional loss. It is through the suffering and death of Jesus God healed the world that was wounded by sin and disobedience.
Sin means hamartia in Greek means missing the mark. we want to be good, compassionate, sincere, generous, kind, prayerful, truthful, chaste, loyal, and responsible but we miss the mark. Are we conditioned by nature, or nurture? Where does God’s grace fit in? Genetic inheritance and social conditioning are important. But grace of God helps them both.
Good Friday is the story of one-Man Jesus that takes us all near God reconciled and at peace with God. “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.” It is the prayer of surrender to God. Through His perfect displayed on the Cross, He continues to give Himself to us all. When he spelled out this prayer surrender, the response of the Father is that of reciprocity and receptivity. As we gaze upon the Cross of Jesus, let us transcend beyond suffering to surrender. We need to repeat this prayer of surrender to the Father slowly and consciously.
The Cross of Jesus is the symbol of love, sacrifice, and salvation for all of us. Saintly Bishop Oscar Romero called the victims, “you are the image of the pierced saviour.” And he paid a price for the stand he took for the people. In his homily, he asked the soldiers not to go against their conscience. “In the name of God, in the name of this suffering people whose cries rise to Heaven more loudly each day, I implore you, I beg you, I order you in the name of God: Stop the repression!”
Pope St. John Paul II, who wrote from his hospital bed after the assassination attempt against him: “To suffer means to become particularly susceptible, particularly open to the working of the salvific powers of God, offered to humanity in Christ.’”
The papal preacher Cantalamessa exclaims, “Thanks to the cross of Christ, suffering has also become in its own way a kind of ‘universal sacrament of salvation’ for the human race,” “And when I am lifted up from the earth,” he said, “I will draw everyone to myself” (Jn 12:32).
As we celebrate the Good Friday, let us remember those who have been engulfed by the pandemic. It is indeed the time to surrender, sacrifice and to embrace the symbol of love. Have a lovely day. God bless you.