Jesus died for us and the whole earth rumbled. Now the earth—and we—are silent. The challenge is to recognize our fear today. We are human. We will die. We do not know what will happen after that. But we also know that Jesus was human. Jesus died. And, he rose from the dead. Too often we forget that fact.
At any time of the day or night we can call on Jesus. He is always waiting, listening for our call. What a wonderful blessing. No phone needed, no e-mails, just a whisper.
"In these days, God taught me as a schoolteacher teaches a pupil" (Saint Ignatius). I remind myself that there are things God has to teach me yet, and ask for the grace to hear them and let them change me.
How do I find myself today? Where am I with God? With others? Do I have something to be grateful for? Then I give thanks. Is there something I am sorry for? Then I ask forgiveness.
The Word of God
Good Friday of the Lord's Passion Reading 1 Is 52:13—53:12
Good Friday of the Lord's Passion Reading 1 Is 52:13—53:12
▪ Good Friday of the Lord's Passion Reading 1 Is 52:13—53:12
See, my servant shall prosper, he shall be raised high and greatly exalted. Even as many were amazed at him— so marred was his look beyond human semblance and his appearance beyond that of the sons of man— so shall he startle many nations, because of him kings shall stand speechless; for those who have not been told shall see, those who have not heard shall ponder it.
Who would believe what we have heard? To whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed? He grew up like a sapling before him, like a shoot from the parched earth; there was in him no stately bearing to make us look at him, nor appearance that would attract us to him. He was spurned and avoided by people, a man of suffering, accustomed to infirmity, one of those from whom people hide their faces, spurned, and we held him in no esteem.
Yet it was our infirmities that he bore, our sufferings that he endured, while we thought of him as stricken, as one smitten by God and afflicted. But he was pierced for our offenses, crushed for our sins; upon him was the chastisement that makes us whole, by his stripes we were healed. We had all gone astray like sheep, each following his own way; but the LORD laid upon him the guilt of us all.
Though he was harshly treated, he submitted and opened not his mouth; like a lamb led to the slaughter or a sheep before the shearers, he was silent and opened not his mouth. Oppressed and condemned, he was taken away, and who would have thought any more of his destiny? When he was cut off from the land of the living, and smitten for the sin of his people, a grave was assigned him among the wicked and a burial place with evildoers, though he had done no wrong nor spoken any falsehood. But the LORD was pleased to crush him in infirmity.
If he gives his life as an offering for sin, he shall see his descendants in a long life, and the will of the LORD shall be accomplished through him.
Because of his affliction he shall see the light in fullness of days; through his suffering, my servant shall justify many, and their guilt he shall bear. Therefore I will give him his portion among the great, and he shall divide the spoils with the mighty, because he surrendered himself to death and was counted among the wicked; and he shall take away the sins of many, and win pardon for their offenses.
R. (Lk 23:46) Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.
In you, O LORD, I take refuge; let me never be put to shame. In your justice rescue me. Into your hands I commend my spirit; you will redeem me, O LORD, O faithful God.
R. Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.
For all my foes I am an object of reproach, a laughingstock to my neighbors, and a dread to my friends; they who see me abroad flee from me. I am forgotten like the unremembered dead; I am like a dish that is broken.
R. Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.
But my trust is in you, O LORD; I say, "You are my God. In your hands is my destiny; rescue me from the clutches of my enemies and my persecutors."
R. Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.
Let your face shine upon your servant; save me in your kindness. Take courage and be stouthearted, all you who hope in the LORD.
R. Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.
Reading 2 Heb 4:14-16; 5:7-9
Brothers and sisters: Since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast to our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who has similarly been tested in every way, yet without sin. So let us confidently approach the throne of grace to receive mercy and to find grace for timely help.
In the days when Christ was in the flesh, he offered prayers and supplications with loud cries and tears to the one who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence. Son though he was, he learned obedience from what he suffered; and when he was made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him.
Verse Before the Gospel Phil 2:8-9
Christ became obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Because of this, God greatly exalted him and bestowed on him the name which is above every other name.
Gospel Jn 18:1—19:42
Jesus went out with his disciples across the Kidron valley to where there was a garden, into which he and his disciples entered. Judas his betrayer also knew the place, because Jesus had often met there with his disciples. So Judas got a band of soldiers and guards from the chief priests and the Pharisees and went there with lanterns, torches, and weapons. Jesus, knowing everything that was going to happen to him, went out and said to them, "Whom are you looking for?" They answered him, "Jesus the Nazorean." He said to them, "I AM." Judas his betrayer was also with them. When he said to them, "I AM, " they turned away and fell to the ground. So he again asked them, "Whom are you looking for?" They said, "Jesus the Nazorean." Jesus answered, "I told you that I AM. So if you are looking for me, let these men go." This was to fulfill what he had said, "I have not lost any of those you gave me." Then Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it, struck the high priest's slave, and cut off his right ear. The slave's name was Malchus. Jesus said to Peter, "Put your sword into its scabbard. Shall I not drink the cup that the Father gave me?"
So the band of soldiers, the tribune, and the Jewish guards seized Jesus, bound him, and brought him to Annas first. He was the father-in-law of Caiaphas, who was high priest that year. It was Caiaphas who had counseled the Jews that it was better that one man should die rather than the people.
Simon Peter and another disciple followed Jesus. Now the other disciple was known to the high priest, and he entered the courtyard of the high priest with Jesus. But Peter stood at the gate outside. So the other disciple, the acquaintance of the high priest, went out and spoke to the gatekeeper and brought Peter in. Then the maid who was the gatekeeper said to Peter, "You are not one of this man's disciples, are you?" He said, "I am not." Now the slaves and the guards were standing around a charcoal fire that they had made, because it was cold, and were warming themselves. Peter was also standing there keeping warm.
The high priest questioned Jesus about his disciples and about his doctrine. Jesus answered him, "I have spoken publicly to the world. I have always taught in a synagogue or in the temple area where all the Jews gather, and in secret I have said nothing. Why ask me? Ask those who heard me what I said to them. They know what I said." When he had said this, one of the temple guards standing there struck Jesus and said, "Is this the way you answer the high priest?" Jesus answered him, "If I have spoken wrongly, testify to the wrong; but if I have spoken rightly, why do you strike me?" Then Annas sent him bound to Caiaphas the high priest.
Now Simon Peter was standing there keeping warm. And they said to him, "You are not one of his disciples, are you?" He denied it and said, "I am not." One of the slaves of the high priest, a relative of the one whose ear Peter had cut off, said, "Didn't I see you in the garden with him?" Again Peter denied it. And immediately the cock crowed.
Then they brought Jesus from Caiaphas to the praetorium. It was morning. And they themselves did not enter the praetorium, in order not to be defiled so that they could eat the Passover. So Pilate came out to them and said, "What charge do you bring against this man?" They answered and said to him, "If he were not a criminal, we would not have handed him over to you." At this, Pilate said to them, "Take him yourselves, and judge him according to your law." The Jews answered him, "We do not have the right to execute anyone, " in order that the word of Jesus might be fulfilled that he said indicating the kind of death he would die. So Pilate went back into the praetorium and summoned Jesus and said to him, "Are you the King of the Jews?" Jesus answered, "Do you say this on your own or have others told you about me?" Pilate answered, "I am not a Jew, am I? Your own nation and the chief priests handed you over to me. What have you done?" Jesus answered, "My kingdom does not belong to this world. If my kingdom did belong to this world, my attendants would be fighting to keep me from being handed over to the Jews. But as it is, my kingdom is not here." So Pilate said to him, "Then you are a king?" Jesus answered, "You say I am a king. For this I was born and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice." Pilate said to him, "What is truth?"
When he had said this, he again went out to the Jews and said to them, "I find no guilt in him. But you have a custom that I release one prisoner to you at Passover. Do you want me to release to you the King of the Jews?" They cried out again, "Not this one but Barabbas!" Now Barabbas was a revolutionary.
Then Pilate took Jesus and had him scourged. And the soldiers wove a crown out of thorns and placed it on his head, and clothed him in a purple cloak, and they came to him and said, "Hail, King of the Jews!" And they struck him repeatedly. Once more Pilate went out and said to them, "Look, I am bringing him out to you, so that you may know that I find no guilt in him." So Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple cloak. And he said to them, "Behold, the man!" When the chief priests and the guards saw him they cried out, "Crucify him, crucify him!" Pilate said to them, "Take him yourselves and crucify him. I find no guilt in him." The Jews answered, "We have a law, and according to that law he ought to die, because he made himself the Son of God." Now when Pilate heard this statement, he became even more afraid, and went back into the praetorium and said to Jesus, "Where are you from?" Jesus did not answer him. So Pilate said to him, "Do you not speak to me? Do you not know that I have power to release you and I have power to crucify you?" Jesus answered him, "You would have no power over me if it had not been given to you from above. For this reason the one who handed me over to you has the greater sin." Consequently, Pilate tried to release him; but the Jews cried out, "If you release him, you are not a Friend of Caesar. Everyone who makes himself a king opposes Caesar."
When Pilate heard these words he brought Jesus out and seated him on the judge's bench in the place called Stone Pavement, in Hebrew, Gabbatha. It was preparation day for Passover, and it was about noon. And he said to the Jews, "Behold, your king!" They cried out, "Take him away, take him away! Crucify him!" Pilate said to them, "Shall I crucify your king?" The chief priests answered, "We have no king but Caesar." Then he handed him over to them to be crucified.
So they took Jesus, and, carrying the cross himself, he went out to what is called the Place of the Skull, in Hebrew, Golgotha. There they crucified him, and with him two others, one on either side, with Jesus in the middle. Pilate also had an inscription written and put on the cross. It read, "Jesus the Nazorean, the King of the Jews." Now many of the Jews read this inscription, because the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city; and it was written in Hebrew, Latin, and Greek. So the chief priests of the Jews said to Pilate, "Do not write 'The King of the Jews,' but that he said, 'I am the King of the Jews'." Pilate answered, "What I have written, I have written."
When the soldiers had crucified Jesus, they took his clothes and divided them into four shares, a share for each soldier. They also took his tunic, but the tunic was seamless, woven in one piece from the top down. So they said to one another, "Let's not tear it, but cast lots for it to see whose it will be, " in order that the passage of Scripture might be fulfilled that says: They divided my garments among them, and for my vesture they cast lots. This is what the soldiers did. Standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary of Magdala. When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple there whom he loved he said to his mother, "Woman, behold, your son." Then he said to the disciple, "Behold, your mother." And from that hour the disciple took her into his home.
After this, aware that everything was now finished, in order that the Scripture might be fulfilled, Jesus said, "I thirst." There was a vessel filled with common wine. So they put a sponge soaked in wine on a sprig of hyssop and put it up to his mouth. When Jesus had taken the wine, he said, "It is finished." And bowing his head, he handed over the spirit.
Here all kneel and pause for a short time.<
Now since it was preparation day, in order that the bodies might not remain on the cross on the sabbath, for the sabbath day of that week was a solemn one, the Jews asked Pilate that their legs be broken and that they be taken down. So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first and then of the other one who was crucified with Jesus. But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs, but one soldier thrust his lance into his side, and immediately blood and water flowed out. An eyewitness has testified, and his testimony is true; he knows that he is speaking the truth, so that you also may come to believe. For this happened so that the Scripture passage might be fulfilled: Not a bone of it will be broken. And again another passage says: They will look upon him whom they have pierced.
After this, Joseph of Arimathea, secretly a disciple of Jesus for fear of the Jews, asked Pilate if he could remove the body of Jesus. And Pilate permitted it. So he came and took his body. Nicodemus, the one who had first come to him at night, also came bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes weighing about one hundred pounds. They took the body of Jesus and bound it with burial cloths along with the spices, according to the Jewish burial custom. Now in the place where he had been crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb, in which no one had yet been buried. So they laid Jesus there because of the Jewish preparation day; for the tomb was close by.
Some thoughts on today's scripture
▪ On this Good Friday it may be enough to stand on Calvary near the cross on which Jesus is hanging. Be aware of the confusion, commotion and darkness that swirl around you. Let the conflict between good and evil, the ultimate world drama, play itself out in this sordid setting. This is the turning-point of human history when a condemned man, dying horribly before your eyes, is saving the world from sin and decay. Whether you like it or not, you are involved in this drama.
▪ Later you might take part in the burial of Jesus. Are there words of comfort that you can speak to Mary as she holds the body of her son for the last time? Or do you need comforting by her?
Dear Lord, stay by my side always. Gain for me a trusting heart. Thank you for loving me.
I thank God for these few moments we have spent alone together and for any insights I may have been given concerning the text.
Do you realize what I have done for you? (John 13:12)
Good Friday of the Passion of the Lord
Behold, the man! (John 19:5)
When Pilate spoke these words on Good Friday, he was trying to prove Jesus' innocence. He had tried Jesus and found nothing in him worthy of the death that the Sanhedrin was demanding. "I have interrogated him. I have even punished him for whatever crime you may think he has committed. Look! I've done all I have to do. Now leave him alone. And leave me alone too!"
But it wasn't enough. Incited to a near riot, the crowd demanded that Jesus be put to death. And Pilate, forever known as a fearful and weak-willed government functionary, caved in.
Two thousand years later, Pilate's words continue to ring out, only now with a new prophetic meaning. On this day above all other days, God is asking us to "behold the man." He is asking us to look at Jesus—wounded, bruised, and crowned with thorns—and see him as our Savior, our Lord, and our King.
Behold the man today! Behold this man of sorrows, acquainted with grief, and see the One who bore all of your sins. Fix your eyes on him, the innocent victim, and see your redemption. See the lengths to which God went to rescue you from death. See the love of Christ—a passionate love that is willing to endure the cross for the sake of your salvation. Behold the man, and know that he embraced this fate because he loves you.
But there is more. As you behold the man, you are also beholding humanity itself. You are seeing what our sin, our jealousy, and our selfishness look like. You are seeing a picture of how sin has marred us. Like the man beaten and left for dead on the roadside until the good Samaritan rescued him, Jesus stands before you, showing you how desperate and needy you are without him. He is showing you what the world would look like without him. Behold him, and see what he has saved all of us from. Then praise him. Thank him. Worship him. Give him your life today because he gave himself so completely for you.
"Jesus, as I fix my eyes on you, give me a glimpse of the salvation you have won for me. Lord, I want to belong to you alone!"
From today's first Holy Scripture: 'Even as many were amazed at him— so marred was his look beyond human semblance and his appearance beyond that of the sons of man— so shall he startle many nations". They say that in our day, we are numb, even dumb to sin. If you were to have seen the Lord battered, beat up, and bruised, today, if you saw it today, you would probably be sort of amazed or would rather look away. It is an un-moving, unnerving effect, to a world that is numb, that is accustomed to sin. Yet, for this very reason, the Lord offers Himself "Yet it was our infirmities that he bore, our sufferings that he endured" and what an honor, that the Lord of Heaven would come to taste our sickness, the ill health, the temptations, and then to taste death as all of us will, and all to do one thing...to avail you the opportunity of salvation, to raise you up, as the Lord may do with the bones of the earth at any given time.
"Who would believe what we have heard?...there was in him no stately bearing to make us look at him, nor appearance that would attract us to him. He was spurned and avoided by people, a man of suffering, accustomed to infirmity, one of those from whom people hide their faces, spurned, and we held him in no esteem." It is a crying shame that we are ashamed to look at Him on the cross and be affected. Last night I took an hour at 12 midnight to be alone in adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, the presence of the Lord in the Holy Eucharist exposed. Quickly the hour passed, and I knew that at the next hour several were to come. They never came. This served for several purposes. The Lord said, I'm not ready for you to leave me alone at this hour. And I reflected on my shame and guilt. Why? Because, the easiest way to explain is like this: when I visit a "friend" in the nursing home, a blind man that really has no family, a widower, the man loves to chatter, and will talk for hours on end if you let him. But I am short on time, I got to work, I got to get to church, or I got to get home, and so I'm always looking at the time. And the guilt of cutting off this poor man's time...and affection, it confounds me. And so, the same is for the Lord. I remember other times, sitting, and the timer is going off in the head, waiting for the next person to come so I can leave. This abandonment causes me much distress. For the Lord has much to say, much love to give, and I have other things to do. And so, like the scripture said, He is a man accustomed to infirmity, a man of suffering. A man who is left alone. A man avoided by people. I asked a young man to cover the hour after mine, earlier in the day, and he texted back "that's scary LOL". Exactly...the scripture is fulfilled in your presence. We pray the Psalms today " Father, into your hands I commend my spirit." These words on the surface sound nice, but who actually commends the spirit of self to His? We continue "But my trust is in you, O LORD; I say, "You are my God." If we say "you are my God", and we do not follow Him, are we lying? Are we kidding? Keep in mind, my failures are speaking up here, because it means alot to say He is our God. We continue "In your hands is my destiny; rescue me from the clutches of my enemies and my persecutors." As we speak, there is a priest held captive and threatened to be crucified. This crucifixion is an affliction. The pain the body feels that is coming is excruciating, and the torment is more in the mind but expresses in the body, and this is why the Lord sweated blood for this Good Friday. It is much more to say the Psalms and another to live the Psalms. The revelation then is this: the life to come awaits, follow the Way.
"In the days when Christ was in the flesh, he offered prayers and supplications with loud cries and tears" we read today. He cried for you. Not for Himself. If today you decide to venerate Him, if today you decide to honor Him, look to Him crucified and hear Him whisper your name. "I did it for You".
"Son though he was, he learned obedience from what he suffered; and when he was made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him." This spotless victim, was and is and ever will be the human lamb of God, and perfect means made Holy. He learned to obey, and it was hard, it cost alot of tears, a lot of work, and all His love. Now...would I turn away? Turning away is sin. Look at Him. Look at the Love! The Holy Gospel speaks and our Lord speaks today and in reply said " as it is, my kingdom is not here." This means, we, the Christ followers, are not of this world. We are of His Kingdom, calling on His Kingdom to be lived on earth, where Love comes first, meaning God comes first, the Love of God comes first, and life to on another...not death, which is the price of sin. They stripped the temple, they stripped off His skin. They tore at the temple, they beat Him on the head and whipped Him til His face was swollen, and blood clotted that streams down the face, through the thorns, and the thorns are of the weeds, putting our sins on Him, because if you'll believe a time I was taken from this world, I saw in the dark a figure on the cross. This was a man covered in darkness. They say it was cold at night, but that was nothing compared to the cold hearts that did this to Him. Numb. It will take divine revelation and years of living our own way to realize "what have I done!" and then, look beyond "what have we done?!!" Stop! Stop living the lies of sin. And it's like asking an addict to stop...and they can't, for one thing...they don't understand or care what you are saying. Look deep inside, look at the cause of sin, look at where it comes from...darkness.
The Lord speaks to the good thief, only good because he turned to the Lord, and pleaded for mercy. So long as we live, we are availed this opportunity. So long as we breathe we can breathe in mercy. Because the lonely and abandoned man speaks and loves, that's all he can do. And this Lord our Father, He has no earthly treasures, only His love, and gives His own mother to the disciple(s), by saying to him at the cross ""Behold, your mother." As if to say, "I am surrendering, and I am giving you all my love". He cries again without tears, but tears of dry blood "Daddy!!!, DADDY!!! why have you forsaken Me". And the people turn away. And the people sin. we sin. Because Jesus was tasting everything we would face in our lives. And He knew He couldn't live physically forever and had to die to be with us in Spirit, so He had to give His life. Who would soak up one tear of the Lord? Who? His mother could hardly stand, she couldn't, the disciple was holding her up, he couldn't. On the way, they say Veronica had wiped his bloody face and tears, she did. She did what people wanted to do but wouldn't or couldn't. To hell with your good thoughts and intentions! DO IT. Do what moves for the Love of God. For LOVE is an action, a verb, not an adjective. It is not anything else than alive, and to prove it, it would stream from the temple, blood and water, love and mercy. And it baptized the one piercing "Forgive them Lord, they know not what they do". This was the darkest hour in the world. In nine months, we will celebrate the birth of the Lord, on a date chosen to be about the darkest day of the year, longer nights. Today, they say we are to celebrate those about to be born (the unborn). Today, those are the despised and rejected, the humans with no voice, they aren't put on a cross, they are just rejected and disposed of, beating hearts stopped. Because we are numb. Because we allow it to be. Because we turn away. And for this I say, "LOOK!", look to the cross and say "I'm Sorry!" Please Daddy, please!!! Don't die! And He never dies forever. He comes back for you. And we are in a new light in the new life. Lent was to show you this, to live 40 days dying to my self in sacrifice, so that just maybe, on Easter you would not be numb anymore, but be afflicted to perfection. Lord I need you now, than I ever have in my whole life...