Is 52:13-53: 12; Heb 4:14-16; 5:7-9; John 13:1-19: 42
Today we faithful are confronted with the death of the Lord, and we try to identify with his very scared disciples who abandoned him and scattered in fear. To them, all was lost. To them, death had conquered. They could not see beyond this. What about us? We have all suffered losses, some little, some great.
In the face of these losses, we often feel helpless. Do we believe that there is life beyond these losses? Do we believe that there is life beyond death, beyond the grave? That is the dramatic question presented to us by this Friday we call Good. Why do we call it Good? St. Augustine Augustine says that in suffering death, he gave us life “such as we cannot have of ourselves.” That is precisely why we call this week Holy and this Friday, Good. When we are helpless, Christ does it for us. He brings new life that we cannot generate ourselves.
The word passion means that which we undergo; that which we suffer through. Each one of us participates in the passion of Christ in some way, to varying degrees. For some it is catastrophic. No doubt the people of Belgium are feeling a sense of catastrophic loss right now.
Today I met an elderly man in the Kroger parking lot. He stopped me. He said “Soon we will encounter terrible things. Your church will stand because you have never abandoned the Cross.” I asked: “Can I put you in my homily tonight? He said, Of course. Many of your people are my dear friends. His name is Bob Cheek.
So, whatever pain, whatever hardship, whatever heartache, whatever disappointment we carry is in some measure a participation in the suffering, dying of Christ. We pray it is purifying for us. In moments, you will come forward to venerate the cross and body of Christ broken. When you do, lay at the foot of the cross the part of your life where you are suffering, now, where you carry the Lord’s dying within you. Today we hold the death of the Lord deep in our hearts. Today we remain with Jesus the Christ, dead and broken for us.