Good Friday

I think it would be fair to say that we cannot even imagine how much Jesus suffered for us. A help at understanding Jesus’ Passion and what he did for us is the movie The Passion of the Christ. Just one detail from that movie that never appears on screen helps us to begin to imagine what Jesus did for us. During the scourging at the pillar there was a shield hidden from the camera put over Jim Caviezel’s back who plays Jesus in the film. But during one blow the Roman soldier missed the shield. The pain was so intense that Jim was not able to cry out, he lost his breath, and the shock was so much that he cut his hands on the chains holding him to the pillar. Afterwards the make-up artist modeled the other wounds on his back on that real wound.

The first reading today, which is a most beautiful prophecy from Isaiah, describes Jesus’ Passion. It highlights Jesus’ sufferings and that it was for our sins Jesus suffered.

On him lies a punishment that brings us peace
And through his wounds we are healed...
For our faults he was struck down in death...
By his sufferings shall my servant justify many,
Taking their faults on himself[1].

So, my brother, my sister, how do we react to Jesus’ suffering for us? We are moved to sorrow for our sins which nailed Jesus to the cross. We are moved to repent of our sins, to turn our backs on sin and walk from the cross as new people. A deep meditation on Jesus’ passion moves us, moves to leave sin behind, because as we meditate on Jesus’ passion we see the effects of our sins.

Today the Church is calling us to consider the prize of the precious life-blood Jesus shed as a God-man to save us. It is not any blood, but a divine blood, which according to the first reading is for our forgiveness and salvation. So the Church expects to consider the precious prize he paid to purchase us[2] and then join hands with him to fight opposition, false rumors, blackmail and doubts aimed at denying his divinity and betraying his religion. This night the church invites us to renew our commitment to Jesus Christ –to accept him, to protect him and to defend him through preaching and witness of life.

When Thomas doubted and later realized that Jesus is God, he re-committed himself to him and said: My Lord and my God[3].  When Peter realized that Jesus is God he repented, unlike Judas who did not repent but hanged himself.  Here lies the difference between Judas and Peter.  Peter did not stop at that, he renounced his curses and re-dedicated himself three times to the Lordship of Jesus Christ[4]. In like manner the Church invites us to do the same as we kiss the cross on which Jesus died. Just like heroic men and women kiss their victory belts, guns and cups after victorious achievements, today believers in Christ will kiss the Cross of the Lord this day with devotion as our instrument of victory over sin and death. Experience has taught us that some hesitate to kiss the cross. Jesus is present behind the Cross. Let us re-acknowledge him as God and Savior and re-dedicate ourselves to him as we reverence and kiss the Cross ■

[1] Isa 52:14; 53:4-5, 8, 11
[2] 1 Cor. 6:20
[3] Jon 30:24ff
[4] John 31:15ff

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