Good Friday

In the passion story according to John which we have just heard, the last words that Jesus said on the cross before he bowed his head and gave up the spirit is It is finished[1]. Three words in English but in the original Greek it is just one word, tetelestai[2]. What does this it is finished mean?[3].

Few years ago after some archaeologists dug up in the Holy Land a tax collector's office that was almost intact, with all the tax records and everything. There were two stacks of tax records and one of them had the word, tetelestai, on the top. In other words, paid in full. These people don't owe anything anymore. So, when Jesus said it is finished, what is finished? It is the debt we owe God by our sins. It has been paid in full?

The Jews of Jesus' time saw sin as a debt that we owe God, a debt that must somehow be repaid and Jesus used that kind of language and often spoke of sin as debt and forgiveness as a cancellation of debt. He told the parable of the unforgiving servant whom his master forgave the debt that he had no way of repaying[4]. This was a way of teaching us that when we are forgiven by God we must in turn forgive our neighbor.

Our Lord clearly used the language of commerce to speak of the spiritual relationship between God and us and between us and our neighbor. So on the cross he says telestai: Our sins have been completely forgiven. It is finished.

So, how do we respond to this last testament of Jesus? What do we do? All we to do is to believe that these word apply to each one of us, no matter the gravity of the sin that we have been involved in. our debt has been paid to the full and cancelled no matter how huge the amount we owe.

Today, during the veneration of the Cross let us say "Thank you, my Lord and my God"; let us learn to be grateful to Jesus all our. That is why we come to the parish every Sunday. We come to celebrate the Eucharist which means literally thanksgiving.

As we look up to the cross today and contemplate Jesus dying to make the full payment for our sins, let us thank him, and let us promise him that our whole lives will be one unbroken song of thanksgiving to him who gave his life to make full payment for the immeasurable debt we owe to God

[1] 19:30
[2] Τετελέσται.
[3] Good Friday. Readings: Isaiah 52:13-53:12, Hebrews 4:14-16;5:7-9, John 18:1-19:42.
[4] Cfr Matt 18:23-35.

Y entonces uno se queda con la Iglesia, que me ofrece lo único que debe ofrecerme la Iglesia: el conocimiento de que ya estamos salvados –porque esa es la primera misión de la Iglesia, el anunciar la salvación gracias a Jesucristo- y el camino para alcanzar la alegría, pero sin exclusividades de buen pastor, a través de esa maravilla que es la confesión y los sacramentos. La Iglesia, sin partecitas.

laus deo virginique matris