When He was on the CrossFr. Barnabas Powell
On this Holy Friday:
Let us pray to the Lord,
O God and Father: How can the light of the sun pierce the terrible darkness of this day and its events? Your only Son, the true light, in the darkness of his ordeal, was pleased to embrace in his humanity the sufferings he could not endure in his divinity. And to what purpose, if not to prove that he considered us worthy of salvation! The crowds that had so admired him at first, were now overcome with aversion for him, in spite of the good he had done. In their outrage that the master of the sabbath should break the sabbath, they sneered at him and derided him. He suffered all sorts of indignities for us: He was spat upon and slapped and ridiculed. He was scourged by the soldiers and, finally, he was hanged on that tree of shame. And we, as usual, remain vacillating and ambivalent. Without your help, O Father, we can never see the honor that is ours in his voluntary shame.
By the grace and mercy and love for us of your only Son, with whom you are blest, together with your all-holy, good, and life-giving Spirit: now and forever, and unto ages of ages. Amen. (A prayer of Fr. Laurence)
From the Cross, during our Master’s passion, pain, suffering, humiliation, and torture, His only thoughts were of others. It is amazing how susceptible to tunnel vision we are when we are in pain. A recent study by the CDC revealed an alarming rise in the number of suicides by those of the Baby-boomer generation. It showed a 50% rise in suicides among men in their 50’s and over a 60% rise of suicides among women in their 60’s. An amazing reality of a generation that was so privileged and so wealthy. But pain causes most of us to focus exclusively on ourselves.
But not in the case of our Lord Jesus.
From the Cross, our Lord thought about those who had betrayed and crucified Him: “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” He thought of the thief who repented: “Today you will be with me in Paradise.” And He thought of His Mother and us: “Woman, behold your son.” Our Lord gave His mother to St. John the Beloved disciple and, through him, He gave her to all of us as well since we are all brothers and sisters in Christ with St. John.
Our Lord, in the midst of His pain, thought not of Himself, even as He quoted the Psalms – “My God, my God why have you forsaken me” – and saying “I thirst” to fulfill the scriptures. Our Lord thought only of the joy that would follow the pain, and in so doing made the pain an impotent weapon that could no longer overcome hope and love.
Today, kneel before Him Who was crucified for you and glory in the victory of love and mercy over the worst of human fallenness!
Soon, the Light that destroys the darkness will light up the night of sin and forever show Light greater than all darkness!
Don’t stumble so close to the finish!