HOMILY FOR FRIDAY OF THE PASSION OF THE LORD
HOMILY THEME: The Way of the Cross is the Way to Life.
BY: Fr. Evaristus Abu
HOMILY: “But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that made us whole, and with his stripes we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:5)
Today is Good Friday; the day we remember the death of our Lord Jesus Christ. We have completed the Stations of the Cross for the fourteenth time since we began on Ash Wednesday. Today, we did try to replay the events that happened on Good Friday two thousand years ago not just for the sake of entertainment but to help us place ourselves among the actual crowd that accompanied Jesus along the Via Crucis and watched him die on the Cross.
Why do we do this? Why do we recall a memory that was painful in all ramifications? The answer is simple: the death of Jesus is good. On Good Friday, Mary cried, John the Beloved cried, the other disciples fled, Veronica and all the women of Jerusalem wept for Jesus. Everything seemed painful at that moment, satan himself must have laughed through the lips of the many who mocked and scorned Jesus. He felt like a winner that day not knowing that Jesus had a plan: to undo the mistake of Adam and Eve and free mankind completely from his grasp.
So in celebrating the death of Jesus, we are celebrating the Life we have today; the fact that we now have access to heaven. In celebrating his death, we are celebrating our ultimate Power as Christians over the kingdom of darkness and all the forces of evil that prevail in our world today. The very cross has become our passport, our ticket, our legal tender, our mark of authority against all principalities and powers. Satan can never stand the cross; Never!
In celebrating the death of Jesus Christ, we are celebrating our healing. As Isaiah says: “By his stripes, we are healed.” In celebrating the death of Jesus Christ, we are celebrating the closeness of God to us. Because Jesus once took our flesh, Jesus knows exactly what it means to be betrayed, insulted, made to suffer injustice, seriously grieved, lied to, treated with ingratitude and so on; Jesus has gone through every possible emotion that we go through. This makes Jesus the perfect High Priest as the book of Hebrews explains. Only a person who has suffered can understand with people who are suffering – Jesus suffered; so when we suffer, let us approach Jesus with full confidence and trust in his power to save.
Dear friends, I hope that at this point, you can now see how good today is. The way of the cross is the narrow path; it is the road least followed; it is the part of what always seems like momentary pain; the cross entails that we make sacrifices for the sake of God, the cross is what Adam and Eve failed to embrace. The way of the cross is the way to life. All of life’s best pieces of advice are along the way of the cross. The way of the Cross is the Way of Life. Searching for prosperity and abundance? Embrace the Cross today! No wonder we are even going to kiss the cross today.
Remember that kissing the cross is a symbol of what our life should be afterwards. If we agree to kiss the cross, we are telling God that we would rather make ourselves uncomfortable than commit sin in search of pleasure. By kissing the cross, we are telling God that henceforth our life would be all about doing his will, accepting suffering and whatever comes our way as we worship him.
Finally, we have just read the Passion Narrative according to St. John. There are so many lessons contained in the passion just as there are so many characters contained in that story. Take some moments to recall the passion and ask; “Where do I belong? Which character does my life portray? What steps can I adapt to change and be better?”
Let us Pray: Lord Jesus, may my acceptance of your cross bring me everlasting joy. Amen.
BE Happy. Live Positive. Have Faith. It is well with you. God bless you. (Celebration of the Lord’s Passion on Good Friday. Bible Study: Isaiah 52:13-53:12, Psalm 31, Hebrews 4:14-5:9 and John 18:1-19:42).