Cycle [C] Good Friday

 Is. 52:13-53:12; Heb. 4:14-16; 5:7-9; Jn. 18:1-19:42

There is touching story of love that a parent could give a child.

One day an 11-year-old girl asked her daddy,” what are you going to get me for my 15th birthday?”

Her father replied, “Please wait, there is much time left.”

When the girl was 14 years old, she fainted and was rushed to the hospital. The doctor came out and told her dad that she had a bad heart and that she was probably going to die.

When she was lying in the hospital bed, she said softly, “daddy… have they told you that I am going to die?” The father replied, “no, you are going to live” as he left her room weeping.

She asked, “how can you be so sure daddy?” He turned around from the door and said, “because…I know.”

A short time later she turned 15. After she was released from the hospital and recovering, she came home to find a letter on her bed which read…” My dearest daughter, if you are reading this letter, it means that everything went well, just as I told you it would. A little while ago you asked me what I was going to give you for your 15th birthday. I didn’t know then, but my present to you was MY HEART.” Her Father Had Donated His Heart!

Look on the Cross There is Jesus with bleeding heart. It is bleeding with love for us. That bruised heart is raised on the cross proclaiming the love of Jesus for each human being to pass through this earth.

Before and after Jesus, thousands of people had been crucified.  In antiquity crucifixion was considered to be one of the most brutal and shameful ways to die. Crucifixion most likely began with the Assyrians and Babylonians, and it was also practiced systematically by the Persians in the sixth century B.C. One of the most infamous incidents of mass crucifixion took place in 71BC at the end of the Third Servile War. 6,000 people were crucified along the Appian Way. In the earliest days of Darius’s rule, another king by the name of Arakha proclaimed himself Nebuchadnezzar IV and seized control of the all-important city of Babylon. He was defeated and about 3000 men were crucified with him. Alexander the Great crucified 2,000 survivors from his siege of the Phoenician city of Tyre. The Jewish king Alexander Jannaeus, king of Judea from 103 BC to 76 BC, crucified 800 people who rebelled against him in the middle of Jerusalem. In 4 BC, the Roman general Varus crucified 2,000 Jews, and there were mass crucifixions during the first century AD.

But the crucifixion of Jesus stands apart as the only one remembered and revered by the world for hundreds of years. Because it proved that God was willing to get caught in the chaos of our world, to take on our brokenness and to transform it. 

Even today many fall victim to the silent cross of institutional violence. Hundreds suffer under the cross of personal and structural racism. The suffering of the innocent at the hands of the unjust is very common. Though we boast that we live in a progressive society, material and moral misery rules the world. Endless wars and conflicts add to the litany of despair.

The errors and sins of our society cannot be excluded from this. Many times in our words and actions we have failed to be faithful companions of Jesus. Many people have experienced exclusion, judgment, and physical and emotional abuse among us. Whenever our interior life becomes caught up in its own interests and concerns, there is no longer room for others, no place for the poor. God’s voice is no longer heard, the quiet joy of his love is no longer felt, and the desire to do good fades.

Today is the day to cry out with the Psalmist: “Forgive us, O Lord, for we have sinned! Today, the Church invites us to take up Jesus’s journey to the cross. The road is uncomfortable, but it isn’t fruitless. In this journey, we will experience hardships and sufferings, but we, too, will experience the love that makes us whole, sets us free and makes our Easter joy complete.