Homily: Good Friday of the Lord’s Passion Year A. (April 7,2023). Is. 52:13—53:12; Heb. 4:14-16; 5:7-9; John 18:1—19:42. being a “laughingstock to my neighbors, a dread to my friends”, one “forgotten like the unremembered dead”.
Good Friday readings bring us to the pinnacle of the holy days in the Christian calendar. While we have heard the story of the passion of our Lord many times, it can still impact us in new ways, opening new insights for us to contemplate in our journey of faith.
Isaiah’s prophesy of the suffering servant maps so perfectly with today’s Gospel. Isaiah connects us with the unjust treatment of the sinless servant of God. Who would recognize one as highly exalted whose image was “marred beyond human semblance” so much that it would “startle many nations” and cause kings to “stand speechless”. We recall our earlier Lenten readings from the prophet Samuel’s choosing of David to be king, which were based on not on external appearances but on internal qualities known only to God.
Today’s psalm likewise meditates on our Lord’s passion, focusing on the abandonment of the one unjustly accused- being a “laughingstock to my neighbors, a dread to my friends”, one “forgotten like the unremembered dead”.
The passage in Hebrews makes it clear that our Lord is the true high priest, who suffered even more than we could suffer, becoming the source of salvation for all. Hence, he calls us to follow him in his victory, trusting Him in faith, leading us to the mercy we need.
Today’s gospel takes us through events in our Lord’s passion that verify Isaiah’s prophesy. Our Lord leads his disciples throughout his earthly ministry, but here he journeys alone. We are not able to follow our Lord everywhere he must go, for he must go to prepare a place for us where we can then follow after him.
Life message: Let us welcome our crosses as Jesus did for the atonement of our sins and those of others: We may have been crucified several times and betrayed by our dear ones. We may have been misunderstood in the most calculated and deliberate of ways by those whom we trusted and loved. We may have been forced to take up the cross for others several times. We may have felt forsaken and abandoned on several occasions.
Yet, his willingness to suffer in our place balanced the Divine "scales of justice." The debt was now paid. His love paid the price. His passion and death atoned for our sins and redeemed us, making possible our salvation.
Conclusion: In a nutshell, the question we should ask ourselves on Good Friday is whether we have accepted these painful experiences gracefully from a loving God and offered all these painful occasions as atonement for our sins and for the sins of our dear ones.
By dying on the cross Jesus embraced human suffering. So, when we are troubled and in distress, we can turn to him in confidence that he will be with us. This means we are to bear one another’s burdens, just as Christ has carried our burdens. That's one way we can show that we have accepted Christ's precious gift.