Good Friday, April 10
This is my Good Friday Homily.
As we celebrate these Good Friday Sacred Mysteries, I recommend and encourage you to read this book in the near future:
The Jesus I Never Knew
by Philip Yancey. This book will give you a fresh perspective on Jesus and make you think of him in ways that will be new to you.
Yancey will help us better understand how God is in our midst, and how God walks with us on our journey of faith.
If God is God, why does God not just take this pandemic take it away from us? If there is a God, why does God allow all of this suffering, pain, and death? What kind of God allows all this pain to happen?
All of these thoughts that follow are taken from Yancey’s book and specifically from Chapter 10
, Death: The Final Week.
Not only is the resurrection central to our faith, but also the death of Jesus is central! Death is not just the way leading to resurrection, but the death of Jesus is a focal point for our faith in and of itself. Our God allowed God to be killed. We have a God who, at a certain point in our human, planet Earth history, died! What is the meaning of this in terms of our faith?
Yancey says, “Of the biographies I have read, few devote more than ten percent of their pages to the subject’s death--including biographies of men like Martin Luther King, Jr. and Mahatma Gandhi, who died violent and politically significant deaths. The Gospels, though, devote nearly a third of their length to the climactic last week of Jesus’ life. Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John saw death as the central mystery of Jesus.”
What does this centrality of the death of Jesus teach us? “In a sense, the paired thieves present the choice that all history has had to decide about the cross.
Do we look at Jesus’ powerlessness as an example of God’s impotence or as a proof of God’s love?
The Romans, bred on power deities like Jupiter, could recognize little godlikeness in a crumpled corpse hanging on a tree.
Devout Jews, bred on stories of a power Jehovah, saw little to be admired in this god who died in weakness and in shame.
The cross redefines God as One who was willing to relinquish power for the sake of love.
Jesus became, in Dorothy Solle’s phrase, ‘God’s unilateral disarmament.’
Power, no matter how well intentioned, tends to cause suffering. Love, being vulnerable, absorbs it. In a point of convergence on a hill called Calvary, God renounced the one for the sake of the other.”
The challenge of faith for us, in our day, is to follow the example of Jesus who in His humanity and divinity has shown us the way to eradicate evil from our world.
“M. Scott Peck writes, ‘I cannot be anymore specific about the methodology of love than to quote these words of an old priest who spent many years in the battle: “There are dozens of ways to deal with evil and several ways to conquer it. All of them are facets of the truth that the only way to conquer evil is to let it be smothered within a willing, living human being. When it is absorbed there like blood in a sponge or a spear into one’s heart, it loses its power and goes no further.”
The healing of evil – scientifically or otherwise--can be accomplished only by the love of individuals. A willing sacrifice is required…I do not know how this occurs. But I know that it does.’”
May these reflections help us to enter into the spirit of these Good Friday Mysteries!
In these terrible days of the Coronavirus, and the suffering, pain, and death it causes, we must surrender to this reality, we must embrace the pain it causes, we must stop pointing fingers as to who is to blame, (that comes after all this is over and we will review what needs to be done for the future), but for now, we must all come together, absorb the pain, and yes, absorb the costs (emotional, spiritual, physical, and financial) like a sponge. We must be willing to pay the price!
In taking it in, it will die there. It goes no further. Our nation, our Global Village, will be healed, and we will be able to move into the future.
Jesus, on the cross, shows us the way.