Readings: Isaiah 52.13-53.12; Psalm 31; Hebrews 4.14-16,5.7-9; John 18.1-19.42 (See the readings at usccb.org)
Text of the homily (more or less… I may ad-lib at some points in the recorded version… ;-))
You are loved. We are loved. You and I are loved infinitely and eternally.
This is the story we just recalled once again. This is why we can call this day, of all days, this day when our Lord and our God was put to death for us, “Good Friday.”
We do not have a God who just put the universe into motion and then sat back in his heavenly easy chair, sipping a heavenly cocktail for all eternity. We do not have a God who couldn’t care less about human suffering and about human sin and about human death. We do not have a God who heaps vengeance upon his people who are sometimes capable of tremendous evil.
We have a God who is love. We have a God who in his mercy and love came to us as one of us, and who put himself into our place. We have a God who entered right into the mud and the darkness and the pain of our suffering and sin and death. In doing so he became our bridge into glory. He became our ferry over the river of death into life.
We are loved.
Should we mourn for our sins? Sure. There are times when I’m sure we can all identify with the disciples, who scattered away from Jesus. There are times when we choose to act out in violence – either physically or in our words – like Peter when he cut the ear of the slave and when he denied Jesus. There are times when we choose to take the easy way out, like Pilate, rather than doing the right thing. There are times when we choose to go along with the crowd in condemning someone, rather than showing mercy. We human beings are capable of a lot of sinfulness, which we know all too well.
But we are loved! Jesus Christ, our God, did not leave us in the midst of this kind of darkness! Instead he entered into it. And he transformed it. He brought his light. And so, even more importantly today, of all days, we should have a smile upon our faces for our Lord has entered into our sin and conquered it. He’s entered into our suffering and he’s transformed it. He’s entered into our death and destroyed it.
This is a day of love. Jesus Christ passionately gave absolutely everything he could possibly give for you and me.
And so: If you find yourself weighed down by sin – turn to Jesus. Get to confession. Be wiped clean, because he poured himself out for you.
If you find yourself in suffering or sorrow – Jesus is with you. He understands you. He loves you and has come to bring you eternal life.
If you find yourself alone or uncertain or you feel like you’ve failed – Jesus is with you as he prays the words of Psalm 22: “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?” And through it all he’s promised us an eternal future of glory.
This is a day to give profound thanks to the God who gave everything. This is a day to turn once again away from sin and believe in the Good News.
This day is all about the triumph of love. This day is all about how deeply you and I are loved, personally, by the infinite God. This day is Good Friday.
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