BY: Fr. Gerald M. Musa

HOMILY: Jewish people had a tradition of having a scapegoat. The Hebrew name for the scapegoat is Sair La-azazel. The Jews heaped their sins on the scapegoat and usually send the scapegoat into the wilderness. The word scapegoat is now known to be anyone who takes away the blame and iniquity of the people. On Good Friday we remember the death of Jesus. He was like a scapegoat who was innocent but suffered in the hands of the wicked.

Most adherents of African traditional religions believe that people suffer misfortune and sickness because of their personal sins. The story of the passion, death and crucifixion of Jesus indicate that innocent people also suffer misfortune and evil for no fault of theirs.

How can we explain our many pains and sufferings in the context of Good Friday? When good people suffer and offer their suffering to God, their pain is called redemptive suffering.

Previously, this Friday was known by different names: “Black Friday” “Silent Friday”, “Long Friday,” etc. Good Friday is a day for a deep reflection on the meaning of pain, suffering, and death. Here are some ten points for reflection:

1. The meekness of Jesus who faced humiliation with humility.
2. The redemptive power of the cross.
3. No Easter celebration without a Good Friday.
4. No Pain, no Gain; no cross, no Crown.
5. Around every dark cloud there is a silver linen.
6. The victory of evil over good is only temporary.
7. Good people suffer.
8. Jesus fell three times: Whoever falls is challenged to rise again.
9. Greater love has no one than to lay down his Life.
10. These Seven Last Words of Jesus are meaningful:
I. “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23: 34).
II. “Today you will be with me in Paradise” (Luke 23: 43).
III. “Woman, here is your son. Here is your mother” (John 19: 26-27).
IV. “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27: 46)
V. “I thirst” (John 19: 28).
VI. “It is finished” (John 19: 30).
VII. “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit” (Luke 23: 46).

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