HOMILY FOR GOOD FRIDAY
THEME: FROM THE PULPIT OF THE CROSS
BY: Fr. Johnbosco Obika
HOMILY: The cross is a symbol of suffering and shame. Those who die on the cross are common criminals. It is very painful to suffer, and most painful when you are innocent. It is awful thinking about God choosing this infamous gibbet to save humanity. However, his ways are not our ways; he chooses what is weak in the eyes of men to shame the strong. Every spectator at Mount of Calvary expected Jesus to speak in harsh tone and cast spell on his executioners. In the midst of his agony he rather turned the cross into a pulpit to preach a great sermon. From his last words on the cross Jesus talks to our hearts.
- “Father, forgive them for they don’t know what they do” (Lk 23:24): Your suffering may be a channel of fulfillment of God’s plan for a better tomorrow. Learn to forgive those who caused your suffering. Refuse to be a victim forever by carrying grudges around. Forgive!
“Today you will be with me in paradise” (Lk 23:43): He is asking those who think they are completely lost already not to lose hope for there is always hope for a repentant sinner even at the point of death. And to all of us he asks to reach out and find the lost and those who are still ignorant of the good news; to show them the door to God’s grace and paradise.
“Woman behold thy son…son behold thy mother” (Jn 19:26-27). He gives Mary the special role of helping God’s children to heaven and gives John the privilege of the maternal benefits of Mary. John represents all Christians. Ask for Mary’s assistance in times of suffering and allow her to do what she knows how best to do; as at the wedding feast of Cana in Galilee.
“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matt 27:46): There are days when you feel depressed, abandoned, frustrated, overwhelmed with suffering and worn out; there are days when you feel the dark night of the soul. At this point no friend can answer the “why”. Please channel all difficult questions to God. Him alone can give a consoling answer, and him alone can put things right for you again. Remember, there are three ways God can react to your prayer: He says yes and gives you what you want, he says no and gives you something better, he says wait and gives you the best.
“I’m thirsty” (Jn 19:28): At this point, Jesus acknowledged and voiced out his immediate need, an inner longing. He was thirsting for our holiness and our salvation but they gave him vinegar. They were thinking that his was a material thirst. There is a longing in every human being that only God can fill. Most of us are making the mistake of trying to satisfy this thirst with material things. In God and from God alone can this longing be quenched. Like the deer that longs for running stream, so should our souls long for God (Ps 42); and as a dry land longs for water, so should our souls long for God (Ps 63).
“It is finished” (Jn 19: 30): The ransom has been paid, the captives are set free, the chains are broken, and the gate is open! Do you believe this?
“Into your hands I commend my spirit” (Lk 23:46): This is not a cry of a vanquished. It is total resignation to the will of God. So long as we live, hardship, death, suffering, tears and fears shall come but we shall overcome. The best attitude is to commit everything to God in prayer and allow him to do the rest. So form the habit of saying always: Father into your hands I commend my sickness, troubles, money worries; Father into your hands I commend my nagging wife, difficult husband and wayward children; Father into your hands I commend my job, my studies, my vocation, and my destiny.
Finally, there is power in the cross. Don’t forget to sign yourself with the sign of the cross—in the morning, in the evening, in the school, at the market place, in the bus, always and everywhere. IN THE NAME OF THE FATHER + SON + HOLY SPIRIT.
Happy Easter in advance. Fr. Johnbosco Obika loves you!