Good Friday of the Lord's Passion (ABC)
Jesus Christ, our Savior, true God and true Man, has experienced the absolute depths of human misery.
- When we contemplate his Passion we cannot doubt it.
- Isaiah tells us: "He was spurned and avoided... a man of suffering, accustomed to infirmity, one of those from whom people hide their faces..."
We have all felt like that at some time in our lives, because we live in a fallen world.
- We have all been sick, and betrayed, and hurt.
- And we have all caused pain in others.
- The effects of evil and sin have reached out and touched each one of us, just like ripples in the water reach to the shores when you throw a pebble into the middle of a pond. The pebble was original sin.
Jesus saved us by coming down to our level, by stepping into the middle of our pain and sorrow, Isaiah tells us this, he says: "It was our infirmities that he bore, our sufferings he endured,".
He saved us
- not by eliminating suffering,
- but by suffering with us and for us,
- by teaching us through his own example to trust and love God even in the midst of suffering.
Do we fully realize what this amazing truth means?
- It means that we don't have to become perfect before we can be friends of God. It means that, in Christ, we can go right into God's presence just the way we are, with all our miseries and confusions and wounds and sins.
- Should we think Jesus' arms are outstretched on the cross, waiting to embrace those who never sinned? Those who are already saints? No, they are there for us.
The Letter to the Hebrews understands this.
- Listen again to the earth-shaking sentence that can free us from all fear and hesitancy in our relationship with God:
- it says "So let us confidently approach the throne of grace to receive mercy and to find grace for timely help."
On this day, this sacred Good Friday, let's join our hearts to those of all Catholics throughout the world, and let's lift our eyes to this saving cross of Christ.
This cross is the "throne of grace" that God wants us to "approach confidently" so we can "receive mercy and find grace for timely help."
- When we approach the cross and kiss it or simply touch it, let's do so not just with our feet and our hands, but with our whole selves.
- In prayer, let's lay our own troubles at the foot of this cross, this throne.
- Let's lay the troubles of those we love at the foot of this throne.
- Let's lay the troubles of the world at the foot of this throne. Nothing would please him more.
He came among us and bore "our infirmities" because he wanted to be close to us.
- He dreamed about walking by our sides, sharing our crosses, and winning our friendship.
- Today, let's tell him, by the sincerity and confidence of our prayer, that his dream has come true.
From today until Easter all the tabernacles of the world are empty, and all the altars are bare.
- It is a reminder of the sacrifice of our Lord, of the emptiness that would have been in each of our hearts had Jesus abandoned us in our sin.
- But he didn't abandon us.
And so, today, when we receive him in Holy Communion,
- let's make our hearts into his tabernacles,
- let's make our hearts into his altars,
- let's make our hearts into his thrones,