TODAY WE COMMEMORATE THE GREATEST ACT OF LOVE IN HISTORY
(A biblical reflection on GOOD FRIDAY [YEAR A], April 22, 2011)
Second Reading: Heb 4:14-16;5:7-9
First Reading: Is 52:13-53:12; Psalms: Ps 31:2,6,12-13,15-17,25; Gospel Reading: Jn 18:1-19:42
The Scripture Text
Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we have not a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sinning. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
In the days of His flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to Him who was able to save Him from death, and He was heard for His godly fear. Although He was a Son, He learned obedience through what He suffered; and being made perfect He became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey Him. (Heb 4:14-16;5:7-9 RSV)
Today we commemorate the greatest act of love in history: the cross of Jesus Christ. Let us take some extra time today to meditate before a crucifix. We look upon Jesus in all His lowliness – beaten, bruised, and bloodied. We see Him suffering, rejected and alone. Let us listen to His last cry from the cross: “My God, my God, why have You abandoned Me?” Let us see His love for each and every one of us, even as He hangs dying in our place: “Father forgive them, they know not what they do.” Let us gaze upon Him who was pierced for our offences and crushed for our sins. Let us bow in reverence as we contemplate the full meaning of this holy day, when the Son of God became incredibly poor so that we could become unspeakably rich. Let us bless the One who now beckons us “to draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Heb 4:16).
What great love the cross reveals! This is covenant love, a love that springs from Jesus’ eternal promise to love and protect us. Covenant love is ever faithful. It is ready to die so that others may live. It is an eternal love, written in the very blood of Christ.
Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ, today, as you meditate before the Lamb who was slain, consider the “bigness” of the cross. Has any other act of love ever brought forth such a flood of mercy and grace? Has any other sacrifice completely washed away every sin to come? Has any other act of love overcome the devil’s work of hatred and evil in the world?
How can we make the cross real in our lives today? By showing our loved ones the same covenant love that Jesus has shown us. What joy Jesus will have as He sees the fruit of His cross in the way we spread His love and faithfulness today! Just thing: Every time we love as Jesus loves, we are actually bringing the very presence of Christ into the world where we live!
Short Prayer: Lord Jesus, You were perfectly innocent, completely free from sin. Yet You bore all of my sin and injustice as You hung upon the cross. Lord, on this Good Friday I join with the saints in heaven not to mourn what my sin did to You, but to rejoice in what Your love did for me. May this litany be in my heart today: Cross of Jesus, purify me. Blood of Jesus, cleanse me. Wounds of Jesus, heal me. Love of Jesus, free me. Mercy of Jesus, forgive me. Amen.
Jakarta, April 18, 2011
A Christian Pilgrim