On this Good Friday of Lent as we go through these final days of Lent towards Easter, I wanted to write a good post … but instead, I stumbled across a post from Father Bill Peckman that says everything I could hope to say on a day such as this, in such a beautiful and heartfelt way. Anyway, it is a bit long but well worth the time. Have a blessed Good Friday my friends… Easter is drawing near.
From Father Bill:
I have been preparing my short homily for today and have found much I want to say given the current state of affairs. So I am going to give the long version here. The Church tells the clergy to keep the homily short on this day.
Homily for Good Friday (Long Form)
Imagine if you will the vantage point of Jesus on Good Friday
IN the last 24 hours you have not slept
IN the last 24 hours you have been stripped completely naked; the first time so Roman soldiers, known for the gleeful brutality, could whip you with cords with pieces of metal embedded in them. Your blood and pieces of your flesh are all over the floor. In their cruelty, the Roman soldier weave a crown of thorns and thrust the on your head. The second time you are stripped naked is when you are nailed to a cross for the amusement and ridicule of those around you. The humiliation of your nakedness that the Romans want you to feel is the same humiliation Adam and Eve felt in the garden after the fall when they knew they were naked. There will be no fig leaves for you…only derision.
In the last 24 hours you have seen your closest friends abandon you. One sold you for 30 pieces of silver. One denies even knowing you three times. Only the youngest is there at the foot of the Cross watching you die a horrific death. You knew this would happen; but you allow it to happen so that what needed to be done would be done.
In the last 24 hours you have experienced excruciating pain. Imagine walking with a heavy cross on your shoulders, digging into your already severely lacerated flesh. Your leg, back, and buttock muscles have been torn into by the scourging. Every step introduces a new wave of pain. You are continually yelled at and beaten as you struggle with every step. More of your blood strews the road between the place of condemnation and place of your execution.
Your every breath now causes pain. As your blood drains out of your body, your strength evaporates. To speak requires raising yourself on the nails in your hands and feet. For 6 hours you are humiliated and tortured for all the world to see. You endure ridicule and blasphemy.
Bonus: your mom gets to watch all this. She gets to watch you bleed to death. She gets to watch you struggle for every breath. She gets to hear every taunt, gloating, and cruelty thrown your way. She gets to watch you die. She gets to hold your lifeless body in her arms.
Your response? “Father, forgive them, they know not what they do.” The mercy, love, and forgiveness you have preached for the last three years will find their most perfect pulpit now.
You do this knowing that people will deny it happened, make little of it, fight over what it means, or treat it as if it is unimportant. You do this knowing people will kill in your name. You do this knowing that like your disciples who abandoned you, so will many who claim to follow you abandon you for the idols of wealth, power, pleasure, entertainment, worldly honor, sports, sexual pleasure, apathy, or sloth. You do this because you love every single one of those people as you also loved your disciples, the Sanhedrin, the Romans…indeed all of humanity. This love will be so overwhelming that many will not be able to believe such a love could even exist.
This is why you came. As the Second Person of the Trinity, you could experience none of this. Sharing in the Love of the Father and Holy Spirit , you are sent through the Incarnation into this world, taking flesh in the womb of the Blessed Mother so that you may share in that suffering and by doing so, reunite fallen humanity back to an eternal relationship to the Father. Your suffering and death accomplish this.
On this Good Friday, we remember the brutal suffering and death of Jesus and the boundless love with which He did so. Yet, at every Mass we directly participate in this as we receive His Flesh and Blood through the Eucharist. We are given the benefit of the sacrifice Christ made for us. We participate in the one sacrifice of Christ on the Cross.
This is why is such an abomination that most Catholics do not go to Sunday Mass, do not believe in the Real Presence, do not confess their sins. It says that what Christ did for us is not enough for us to inconvenience our lives, our schedules, or transform us in the slightest. It says we trust in more of what our idols have to offer than what Jesus offered on the Cross. In says what I want is more important that what God was willing to do for us. It says the love of God isn’t enough to satisfy me. Imagine what it will feel like having to own up to this before the face of God when we die!
Let us understand then, that God still loves us. His Son’s death was done for each of us. That death is meant to change us to the better. That death is meant to transform our hearts to where we can love as He loves. So this Good Friday cast out your idols. Allow Mass to inconvenience you and your schedule. Allow confession to be the foot of the Cross at which you lay your sins. It is only through the Cross that you can have the eternal life promised by the Resurrection.
AS Jesus tells Thomas after the Resurrection, ” “Put your finger here and see my hands, and bring your hand and put it into my side, and do not be unbelieving, but believe.”