Apr 21, 2011

Good Friday - Enough?


Cross in the Woods: Indian River, Michigan
Passion according to St. John: http://www.usccb.org/nab/042211.shtml

Christianity is a faith of inside out and upside down. What I mean by that is it seems to me that Christ has reversed what we may see as normal. The normal measures of justice often do not apply. “An eye for an eye” is answered with “love your enemies.” Rather than seek revenge, Jesus says “turn the other cheek.” Pain and suffering become redemptive; an opportunity for grace if they are seen as part of a larger plan.

In yesterday’s celebration on Holy Thursday, Jesus (God) washed the feet of his Apostles; even those who would deny he knew him (Peter), betray him (Judas), and doubt him (Thomas.) What kind of love would go so far as that? It is beyond human reason that anyone would return love for betrayal, doubt, and blatantly broken trust. Only a divine reason and plan could overcome the natural human tendency to seek justice in the face of mistreatment. Only divine intervention could say, in spite of everything, “I have given you an example. As I have done for you so you must do for each other.” In the face of that he gave us the Eucharist: his Body, his Blood.

If that were not enough, he then went to his agony and suffered likely the greatest act of human injustice inflicted on anyone; not as a helpless victim but as the victorious savior. On a merely human level, the set-up, arrest, mock trial, and agony of crucifixion was an abomination of justice. Yet, he submitted to it. Christ took our sins upon himself – a supreme act only God could do.

If that was not enough, he then rose in glory not for his own sake but for ours. “I am the Bread of Life,” he said. “He who eats this Bread will live for ever.” “Do this in remembrance of me.” In every Mass the risen Savior makes himself our food.

If that was not enough, he promised “to remain” with us “until the end of time.” So that we would not be orphans. In order to assure our protection, he then gave us his own Mother as we hear in John's Gospel: "Son, there is your Mother; Mother, there is your Son."

If that was not enough, he also sent the Holy Spirit to be our “helper” and “guide.” Our “Advocate” in time of trial.

If that was not enough, he gave us his Church wherein we can find life, forgiveness, light, truth, community, hope, and charity.

Lord,
By shedding his blood for us,
Your Son, Jesus Christ,
Established the paschal mystery.
In your goodness make us holy
and watch over us always.

(Good Friday Prayer)