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Good Friday Homily

Good Friday
Isaiah 52:13-53:12
Psalm 31:2, 6, 12-13, 15-16, 17, 25 (Luke 23:46)
Hebrews 4:14-16; 5:7-9
John 18:1-19:42
March 30, 2018

Every time we celebrate Mass, we are celebrating the sacrifice of Jesus giving his life on the Cross for us but today, …today we listen to the story of what Jesus went through for us.

It is a familiar story to us.  There’s the betrayal of Judas Iscariot.  We remember how Peter denies Jesus three times. We might ask ourselves, do we turn away from Jesus in sin?  Do we deny the truth that Jesus offers?

He is scourged.  He is mocked with a crown of thorns and purple cloak.    There are the false accusations against him.  In fact, when they bring Jesus to Pilate who asks, “What charge do you bring against this man?,” their response is “If he were not a criminal, we would not have handed him over to you.”  It seems they have no real charge to bring against him.

Pilate gets a lot of the blame for crucifying Jesus but three times Pilate says, “I find no guilt in him.”  Pilate’s only fault in what happened is giving into the crowd.

Jesus is innocent.  Why must an innocent man be crucified?

Last night our first reading was from Exodus and told of the Passover.  In the Passover celebration, a lamb “without blemish” was to be offered.  Jesus is without blemish.  He is without sin and he becomes the lamb that God offers as the sacrifice for our sins.

Those who want Jesus crucified try to act “innocent”.  When Pilate tells them to judge him according to their law, they say, “we do not have the right to execute anymore.”  They are trying to look like law-abiding citizens but really, they just don’t want to be blamed for Jesus’ death.

They try to look like friends of Caesar.  They cover up their true feelings.  They lie.  They are full of pride.  They are sinners.  Of course, we too are sinners.

Ultimately, Jesus is crucified but his life is not taken from him.  God is in control.  Jesus never tries to hide.  As his Passion begins, he goes to the same garden where he often met with his disciples so Judas knows where to find him.

When Judas and a band of soldiers come looking for him, he actually goes to them and tells them that he is the one they are looking for.  When questioned by the high priest, Jesus stands by what he said all along.

Do we stand up against adversity or do we run and hide?  Do we stand by what we have always said or do we try to twist our own words to save our skin?

Jesus is not afraid.  He offers no defense.

His final words?  “It is finished.”

What is finished?  Visibly his earthly life is finished.  But “it is finished” has a much deeper meaning.

Many of the people were looking for a messiah who would become an earthly king and defeat their enemy the Romans.  This is what they expected from the line of David but it was not God’s plan.

We see God’s plan in what we hear today from the prophet Isaiah.  We hear of a suffering servant who will be marred “beyond human semblance.”  Isaiah speaks of the servant as one who “had done no wrong” and that “it was our infirmities that he bore…he was pierced for our offenses.

Jesus’ purpose for coming is our salvation.  This means he must die for our sins.  This is his mission which is finished in his death on the Cross.

Jesus died for us.  In John 15:13, Jesus said, “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”  Look at Jesus on the Cross and you can see God’s love.

Knowing how much Jesus loves us, we should listen to him.  We know he is motivated by absolute love.  He has laid down his life for us and so we know we can trust him.  We can give our lives to Jesus.

Based on the love we see from God, may we say “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.”

 

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