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Homily – Good Friday

Good Friday, Year A
Isaiah 52:13-53:12
Hebrews 4:14-16, 5:7-9
John 18:1-19:42
April 18, 2014

Our passion began with saying that Jesus went out.  Jesus was not dragged away with force like a resistant criminal.  Jesus went willing, knowing everything that was going to happen and knowing it was his Father’s will.

Jesus is put on trial.  When the high priest questions Jesus about what he has said, he stands by what he has said because he knows it is the truth.

When Pilate asks the people what charge they bring against Jesus they respond, “If he were not a criminal, we would not have handed him to you.”  They avoid the question and provide no charge.  Why?  Because Jesus is innocent!

Pilate asks Jesus what he has done for the people to do this.  Jesus simply replies, “My kingdom does not belong to this world.

Often Pilate gets a bad rap but he is the one who three times says he finds no guilt in Jesus.  Pilate’s only sin is giving into the mob.

So why was Jesus crucified?

The answer to this question was actually given a few hundred years before Jesus was born by Isaiah in the first reading where Isaiah speaks of the suffering servant.  Why is the suffering servant treated in this way?

Yet it was our infirmities that he bore, our sufferings that he endured… he was pierced for our offenses.

Why?  Because, “We had all gone astray like sheep, each followed his own way.

Jesus brings us Truth, truth with a capital “T”.  This Truth cannot be changed but when we do things our own way, trying to change Jesus’ truth is exactly what we are doing.

We think we have the answers about life and death, about what is moral and what is not.  Why do we think we know better than Jesus?

In a moment we will offer our Prayers of the Faithful.  Normally on a Sunday each parish writes its own set of intentions but today the intentions are entirely written out word for word as part of our Good Friday Service so every Catholic Church in the world is praying for the exact same intentions.

I think the wording of these prayers should remind us that we are part of something bigger than ourselves.  In the very first intention, we pray for your church, meaning not our church but God’s church.  God determines what the Truth and God wants everyone to know what it is.  That’s why our prayers today include not just Catholics, but also other Christians, Jews, and even those who do not believe at all.

We know all this and yet we still can stray from God’s ways.  The good news is that Jesus has given us a remedy for our sins.  He has died so that our sins may be forgiven.  After our prayers, we will come forth to venerate the Cross.  As you come forth, think not of death but how Jesus gives us new life through his death for us.

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