Dear brothers and sisters in Jesus,
We are in the second day of the Triduum. Good Friday always brings us extremely clearly the tremendous agony & pains, crucifixion & death of our Lord Jesus. So much so the passion narrative immerses us in a very intense sorrowful mood, obviously helping us to mediate on the Passions of Jesus, but also inviting us to follow in Jesus’ footsteps and encouraging us to accept our crosses for the sake of love: love of God and of our brethren. The following points that I share with you, may be of help in this.
- The Secret of the Cross is Love
Good Friday is a day liturgically polarized around the passion of the Lord and his death on the Cross. Today the repeated announcement made by Jesus in the gospels, of his violent death in Jerusalem, is taking place. The question is obvious: why it had to be like this? Well, the deepest and most valid answer can only be given by God, because we find ourselves on the unfathomable ground of the divine will and of his eternal plan of redemption realised in Christ.
Neither the Father nor Jesus wanted suffering, painful passion and violent death, because in themselves they are negative realities without values. But the worth of pain, passion and death of Christ lies in the meaning given from a higher goal: the salvation of people whom God loves. Therefore, the central truth of our faith is this: God loved the world so much that he gave his only son for the salvation of the humanity.
We know very well that the natural repugnance of Jesus, as a man, in the face of his sufferings were severe: they were physical (torture, scourging, crowing of thorns, crucifixion) and moral (betrayal of Judas, denial of Peter, desertion of the disciples, ingratitude of the people, hatred of religious leaders). The agony of Gethsemane is a sufficiently eloquent prologue in this regard.
Nevertheless Jesus accepts the Father’s plan: “Let not my will be done, but yours“. The Father’s will is the salvation of humankind for he loves all people. Jesus takes upon himself the Cross of his passion out of fidelity to the Father and out of love for people, that is, in solidarity with his brothers and sisters. The reason seems to be twofold, but in the end it is just one, because the Father’s will is nothing else but the love and salvation of all humankind.
- Love repays with Love
The mystery of the Cross in the life of Jesus – and therefore also in ours – is the maximum revelation of love; because there is no other truthful way of expressing love than that of giving one’s life for those one loves. Well, the sublime love poem, which is the life, passion and death of Christ, asks also us for a response of love. “We love because he first loved us. Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen” (1 Jn 4,19-20).
We believe that the Cross is the typical sign of the Christian, not for spiritual masochism, but because the Cross is the source of life and total liberation, just like it is a sign of God’s love for humanity through Jesus Christ. If we say we are Jesus’ disciples and follow his example, then the love that bears witness to his Cross is the only force capable of changing the world,
You know what? Jesus could have saved us with triumph, power and glory; that is, from the outside, as a superman. But he preferred to do it from within, from within our human condition; to be one among many, demonstrating it with humility, service, obedience and renunciation, instead of imposing by means of his position and power, as it is in our style. Christ, however, did not come to be served, but to serve; this is the reason why, giving up immediate joy, he endured the Cross and humiliation.
The Lord invites us to follow him by denying ourselves and embracing with love our daily crosses, which is always present in one form or another, and from which we would try to escape but in vain. To know how to suffer for love is great wisdom. No wonder why Jesus says: “whoever wants to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for my sake, will save it“. The secret of the Cross of Jesus is love, and the only way to understand it and make it become the source of life is to love God and our brethren generously.
Let God give us the Grace and Wisdom to know it and live by it always.
Fr Sagayaraj Devadoss
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- What feelings does this story of the Passion arouse in me?
- Which character in the narration struck me most and why?
- Do I clearly understand why Jesus had to suffer and die for me?
- What is the cross that the Lord wants me to carry today?
- Do I see hope behind every suffering, resurrection behind every cross?
- Am I ashamed of the Holy Cross?