Good Friday of the Lord’s Passion

John 18:1-19:42

The Crucifixion of Jesus (19:25-34)


Today, we once again enter into the holy event of the passion of our Lord. Yes, God had to go such extremes to prove His unwavering desire to save us and to have us share in His eternal happiness. Throughout this day, it might be most appropriate to examine ourselves and see how we view the pains and sufferings in our lives too. Do we see them as a curse or as a sort of punishment from God? Do we blame God for them? Is it not rather better that we see them as opportunities to share in the very sufferings of our Lord and thus a way to holiness? If right at this moment you are undergoing some pain, be it physical or emotional, why not offer it up to the Lord. Are there people you know who are in some kind of pain at this time? Kindly pray for them that they be given the strength to carry them and much more that they see it as a chance to share in the salvific suffering of our loving Lord Himself. (Fr. Emmanuel Meguito, SVD Bible Diary 2002)


What strikes me today’s readings is Jesus’ exemplary love.

His love for the Father is shown in His obedience up to death. Jesus had to face His sufferings and death as the expression of the Father’s plan for the salvation of the world. In the Garden of Gethsemane he even begged if he could be spared. The events that followed tested the constancy of Jesus’ lobe for the Father, the Jewish followed by mockery; the Roman trial with all its violent circumstances (scourging, crowning with thorns, up to the crucifixion).

His love for us is manifested up to the end. Many practically abandoned Him: Judas betrayed Him, Peter denied Him and the others ran away. Even in Calvary, “they kept their distance.” Jesus’ love never wavered. He did not come down from the cross.

A verse has challenged me for many years now: “What will separate us from the love of Christ?” (Rom 8:35) formulated differently (to bring out its meaning).

“What will make me stop in loving Christ? What will make me comment sin? what will I take in exchange for Christ’s love?”

Ideally, we should be able to repeat the motto of a young saint, Dominic Savio: “Death rather than sin.” in actual fact, we capitulate too easily. We sell Christ’s love too cheaply. (Fr. Willy Villegas, SVD Bible Diary 2004)


A few years ago, archaeologists dug up an office of a tax collector with all the records still intact. On one of the records, it read, “tetelestai,” which means ‘paid in full.’ In the passion story of Good Friday, the last words of Jesus were “It is finished.” Three words I n English but in the original Greek it is just one word, “tetelestai.”

Jesus often spoke about forgiveness as cancellation of debt. When God forgives us, we must in turn forgive our neighbors. This is expressed in the Parable of the Unforgiving Servant. He taught us to pray: “Forgive us our debts, as we forgive those who are indebted to us,” which is simply means: “Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.”

How do we as Christians, respond to this last statement of Jesus? Note that the statement was neither a promise: “I will forgive your sins,” nor it was said with conditions: ‘I will forgive you if…” What will you do, if after worrying so much about how to pay a bank debt, somebody approaches you and tells you: “Don’t worry I have paid the whole amount for you,”? your most natural reaction would be of disbelief! May be only after some time when everything has been confirmed that it was for real that you would express your feelings of gratitude. Yet, the question remains, “Why?”

Do we still stare at the cross with the question: “Why?” can’t we still believe that Jesus did it to erase indebtedness? Can’t we not simply say: “Amen Lord, So be it!” and learn to be grateful to Him all our life? Can’t it be the reason why we go to Church every Sunday and participate in the Eucharist which means ‘Thanksgiving’? can’t His unconditional love and forgiveness be our own inspiration to ne kind and living to people in our everyday lives?

Today, as we stare at the cross and contemplate on Jesus’ selfless giving of Himself in paying fully our immeasurable debt, let us express deeply our thanksgiving to Him. Let us pray that we too become instruments of His mercy and compassion, that we may give hope to those in despair by bringing them the light of Christ. (Fr. Bar Fabella, SVD Bible Diary 2006)


Wife: “Do you love me?”

Husband: “Yes, I love you so much.”

Wife: “So much that you will die for me?”

Husband: “No dear, mine is an undying love.”

Are you worth dying for? Is someone willing to die for you? The answer to these two questions is: Yes. You are worth dying for and Somebody has died for you!

Today, let us take time to say thanks to Jesus who crucified, suffered and died for us. Let not this day end without saying our personal and sincere gratitude to the Lord. The first Good Friday was not good at all. It was bad, very bad for it was a day when an innocent man was tortured to the max before He was crucified. Let us make today’s Good Friday really and truly good by being good and by doing good. Good Friday was not some Friday that happened some 2,000 years ago. Good Friday is today and everyday when we remember with gratitude Jesus’ personal love for us and respond to this love by living a good life that overflows into love of others, especially the “little ones.”

There’s really isn’t much to say, especially today. Let us just listen and ponder deeply on the fact that Somebody died for you and me. (Fr. Jerry Orbos, SVD Bible Diary 2008)


March 25, 2016 Friday

What is good on a Good Friday? On this day we talk about suffering, that is, Jesus’ passion. On this day we are confronted with death, Jesus’ death on the cross. There is nothing, humanly speaking, good in suffering, just as nobody, in his/her right mind, will talk about the good which death brings, especially the death of a loved one. The gospel of John invites us to re ect on the passion narrative, its meaning and significance to our faith as Christians. Jesus’ passion gives sense to the suffering we endure, his death a new dimension to the loss we all experience and a promise of hope and joy in the fullest meaning of the resurrection.

The good on Good Friday is Christ suffering with and for all of us. By suffering with us, Christ empathizes with us, understands our frailty, and enters our experience of pain. By suffering for all, Christ lightens and eases life’s brokenness. The good on Good Friday is Christ laying down his life for the sake of the beloved. We are the beloved because he died for us. By dying on the cross, Christ expressed his perfect love for all of us. In like manner, when we are able to recognize and accept our own pain and woundedness, we also become aware of the sufferings of others and are able to become wounded healers for those in pain. (Fr. Michael Layugan, SVD DWST, Tagaytay City Bible Diary 2016)


Good Friday: By His wounds we are healed

April 9, 2009, 9:12pm

Sentenced to die on the cross, Jesus was made to suffer the worst type of punishment reserved only for the worst type of criminals.

Prior to His crucifixion, Jesus was scourged, beaten with rods, and a crown of thorns pressed into His skull. Aside from the extreme physical pain He endured, Jesus must have felt so alone seeing Himself abandoned on the cross by almost all His apostles, save for His mother and three women, along with John. After a few hours of agonizing emotional and physical pain amid the jeers and insults of those who came to witness His humiliation, Jesus expired.

Pilate had publicly heralded Jesus “King of the Jews’’ no doubt to irritate and annoy the chief priests and Pharisees. Ironically, it was this very title “awarded’’ by Pilate to Jesus that gave Him and the Romans a reason to consider Jesus a threat. Jesus had answered, “My kingdom does not belong to this world …’’ So Pilate said to Him, “Then You are a King?’’ Jesus answered, “You say I am a King …’’ (Jn 18:36-37). On the other hand, the Jews expected a Messiah who would come as king to establish God’s reign for them. They wanted, therefore, a political leader who would free them from tyranny and foreign domination. Little did they understand what kind of Messianic kingship Jesus claimed to have.

Jesus’ only power is the power to attract, to draw us towards Him and not to force Himself on us. If for Him, “there is no sorrow like my sorrow’’ (Lam 1:12), it is because Christ on the cross is God who continues to suffer in love despite humanity’s continued refusal to be loved, our withdrawal into ourselves from our union with God who has become like one of us.

It would be hard, indeed, to see the cross of Christ as a sign of victory if we are not able to realize that it was not just the mere endurance of the suffering of Jesus that saved us, but rather the love and forgiveness of Jesus that is the source of our salvation. Jesus’ act of sacrificing His life was full of compassion, which in its simplest terms means to “suffer with love.’’ We can find no greater proof of God’s love for us that the willing sacrifice of His Son Jesus who died on the cross for love of us.

The cross begins to make sense the very moment we see that love is more powerful than anger, hatred, and death. The cross of Christ, far from being a decoration or just an external badge of identity, is the very substance of our pain and struggle. It tells us there is hope for us even at our very worst and seemingly trying and helpless situations. It extends beyond us both ends of the scale: It measures our life and gives meaning to it.


Good Friday (A) – Juan 18:1-19:42. Ang krus nagpasabut og pag-antos ug pagsakripisyo. Adunay krus nga magagikan sa kinaiyahan sama sa katigulangon, sakit ug “natural calamities”.  Aduna usay krus diha sa atong pagtuman sa mga katungdanan (pagka-padre kura, pagka-mayor, pagka-ginikanan, ug uban pa). Pipila sa atong krus mao ang atong isigkatawo (anak, silingan, higala, ug kaaway). Ug naa puy krus nga bunga sa atong pagpakasala ug daotang binuhatan.

Karong hapona, atong simbahon ang Balaang Krus ni Kristo. Unsa man ang Krus sa Ginoo? Ang Krus nga gipas-an ni Kristo mao ang atong mga kahuyang ug sala. Gipas-an niya kining Krus ngadto sa kalbaryo aron nga kita mamaayo ug mahimong matarong atubangan sa Ginoo (1 Pedro 2:24). Gipanagna na kining daan ni propeta Isaias: “Atua ang kasakit nga Iyang pagasination; atua ang kagul-anan nga Iyang pagapas-anon… Sa Iya ihatag ang silot nga maoy maghatag og kalinaw. Sa Iyang mga samad kita makadawat og kaayohan.”

Ang Krus ni Kristo mao ang matang sa krus nga makaluwas ug makasantos. Gipas-an niya kini gumikan sa Iyang dakong gugma sa mga tawo. Wala nay gugma nga makalabaw pa sa gugma sa usa nga mohatag sa iyang kinabuhi alang sa isigka-ingon. Ug kini mao ang gibuhat ni Kristo para kanato diha sa krus. Tungod kang Kristo, ang krus nahimong larawan sa mahigugmaong Dios.

Niniing Biernes Santo, mangutana kita sa atong kaugalingon: Unsa o kinsa man ang krus nga atong gipas-an karon. Managlahi ang matang ug gidak-on sa krus sa matag tawo. Pero, kitang tanan aduna gayoy krus nga gipas-an. Kini nga kamatuoran maghatag kanato og consolation, Wala kita mag-inusara sa pagpas-an sa krus. Kaganina, samtang nag-estasyon kita sa krus padulong sa Ilihan Shrine, gibati nako ang dakong consolation nga nakita ang daghang tawo nga mikuyog. Bata ug tigulang. Nabati nako nga wala ako mag-inusara sa pagsunod ni Kristo. Ingon usab niini ang atong bati-on kon makita nato nga wala kita mag-inusara sa atong mga problema. Ug daghang mga tawo mas dako pa kaayo og problema sa ato. Kon mabug-atan kita sa atong krus, tan-awon lamang nato ang krus sa uban, ilabi na ang gipas-ang krus sa mga “terminal patients” ug sa mga biktima sa katalagman. Labing siguro, atong maamgohan nga ang krus sa ubang mga tawo mas bug-at pa kaysa atoa.

Ngano nga angay man natong pas-anon ang atong krus? Ang pagpas-an sa krus bililhong kabahin sa pagsunod ni Kristo. Ang Ginoo mismo ang miingon: “Ang buot musunod kanako kinahanglan makamao nga malimot sa kaugalingon, mopas-an sa iyang krus, ug mosunod kanako.” Pinaagi sa pagpas-an sa krus, atong masunod si Kristo nga mihalad sa Iyang kinabuhi para sa kapasayloan sa mga sala. Kon atong pas-anon ang atong krus para sa kinabuhi ug kaayohan sa uban, makahatag usab kini og kaluwasan sa atong kaugalingon. Diha sa atong pagpas-an sa krus, ihalad nato ang atong pag-antos para sa atong mga sala ug sa mga sala sa atong mga minahal sa kinabuhi.

Unsaon man nato pagpas-an ang atong krus? Dili makatabang nga magpas-an kita sa krus uban sa pagmahay, pagbagolbol ug kasuko. Pas-anon nato ang krus uban sa pagpailob ug sa dakong gugma. Magkuha kita og inspirasyon sa usa ka ginikanan nga mahigugmaong mag-alima sa iyang masakitong anak o sa usa ka amahan nga puno sa kadasig nga magtikad sa uma aron adunay ipakaon sa pamilya.

Dugang pa niini, pas-anon nato ang krus uban sa pagsalig nga aduna kitay Amahan sa Langit nga nag-uban kanato sa kanunay. Kaganina samtang nag-estasyon kita padulong sa bukid, nakita nako ang usa ka gamay’ng bata nga gihawiran sa iyahang inahan ug amahan. Kining bata wala gyud maluya sa pagbaklay ug wala gyud mobati og kabalaka tungod kay nagsalig man siya sa iyang mga mahigugmanong ginikanan nga naghawid sa iyahang mga kamot. Ingon usab unta niana ang atong bation samtang nagpas-an kita sa atong mga krus sa kinabuhi. Wagtangon nato ang atong mga kahadlok ug kabalaka. Mosalig kita nga adunay Dios nga maghawid kanato. Naa pa gyud tay Inahan sa Langit, ang Mahal nga Birhen nga mosapnay pud nato sa atong kalisud.

Sa katapusan, sa atong pagpas-an sa krus, ipunting nato ang atong mga mata sa kinabuhing dayon nga nagpaabot kanato sa unahan. Kaganina, samtang naghimo kita sa estasyon sa krus, wala ako mobatig kakapoy tungod kay nasayod ako nga adunay tumoy ug katapusan ang estasyon – ang habog ug maanindot nga bukid. Sa samang paagi, diha sa atong pagpas-an sa krus, hunahunaon nato nga adunay katapusan ang tanan. Ug labaw sa tanan, nagpaabot kanato ang kinabuhi ug kalipay’ng dayon nga gisaad kanato sa Ginoo.

Sama kang Kristo, makat-on unta kita sa pagpas-an sa atong krus ug magtabang sa uban nga naglisod sa pagdala sa ilang mga krus sa kinabuhi. (Abet Uy)


Thursday, March 24, 2016

GOOD FRIDAY (YEAR C) – JUAN 18:1-19.42. MAHIMO BA KITANG LUWASON NI HESUS SA LAING PAAGI? Pwede kaayo tungod kay wala may dili mahimo sa Dios. Apan gipili niya nga luwason kita pinaagi sa pagsakripisyo sa iyang kinabuhi sa Krus tungod kay sa giingon na niya: “Walay gugma nga makalabaw sa usa ka tawo nga andam mopakamatay alang sa iyang mga higala” (Juan 15:13). Si San Pablo nga naluwas pinaagi sa kalooy sa Dios miingon: “Posible natong ihatag ang atong kinabuhi para sa usa ka matarong nga tawo. Pero ang Ginoo nagpakita sa iyang gugma kanato sa talagsaong paagi: samtang kita mga makasasala pa, si Kristo nagpakamatay para kanato (Roma 5:8). Kalabot niini, si San Agustin nipasabot, “Christ died for us while we were enemies so that he can turn us into friends.” Hinaot unta nga magpabilin kitang mga higala sa Dios. Posted by Abet Uy


My Reflection for April 18, Good Friday (Fasting and Abstinence) John 18:1-19:42 Reflection: Are you afraid to carry the cross of Jesus? You’re not alone, I too is afraid to carry the cross of Christ and perhaps all of us are afraid to carry it. Who would want to carry heavy burdens such as incurable sickness? Who would want to have difficult problems in life? Who would want to be persecuted, be unfairly judged, spit on and so forth? No one of us wants these many crosses in our life.

But if we are not willing to carry our cross, how will know that there’s salvation in that cross? How would we know that Jesus Himself will help us carry our own cross?

As much as we are afraid to carry our cross, Jesus is inviting us to wholeheartedly embrace our cross and learn to carry it with acceptance  For there’s salvation in that cross and Jesus Himself is in that cross.

Now, if Jesus is in that cross and if there’s salvation in that same cross. Then, why be afraid to wholeheartedly embrace and carry our own cross?  (Marino J. Dasmarinas)


GOOD FRIDAY: LOVE TRIUMPHS – “It is finished!” – John 19:30

What started as a mouth sore when they first entered the hospital in November 2012 turned out to be the start of a two-month fight against lupus. Ardy and Ting Roberto fought bravely together with their deep faith, prayers and support from family and friends.

Throughout their suffering, Ardy praised God in the storm. He was in his Gethsemane, in tears, while his wife spat blood on the day they were supposed to return home.

But it was a different home the Lord called Ting to. In the last few minutes of her life, Ardy lay beside his wife in the hospital bed, showered her with kisses and took her into his arms, assuring her of his love, “You don’t deserve this body, Ting. When you see Jesus’ hand, take it. Don’t let it go.”

She died in her husband’s arms as he gave her back to her Eternal Groom. “She is free,” Ardy said in tears.

Ting’s pain ended in victory. For she returned to the Lover of her soul, to the one who suffered and died for her first so that she may live forever. In the end, God’s love conquered pain and sin and death. It is finished.

We are free. Thanks be to God. Marjorie Ann Duterte (

Reflection: “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)

You died, Jesus, but the source of life flowed out for souls and the ocean of mercy opened up for the whole world. Jesus, King of Mercy, I trust in You.


1ST READING: That Jesus had to suffer in order to win our salvation indicates the horrific nature of sin. It is appropriate to reflect upon this point today. We celebrate God’s great love for us in sending Christ to be our Savior, but this should not make us neglect the reason He had to be sent, namely our sinfulness. Without Christ, eternal life with God would not be possible. Isaiah 52:13–53:12

2ND READING: Without the gift of salvation, the overwhelming emotion we would have in our relationship with God would be shame. Can you imagine a relationship governed by shame? That is how we would feel in the presence of God. No doubt there is probably some of that even now, but it is overcome by the gift of salvation and, thus, we are able to approach Jesus with hope because of the knowledge of God’s love and forgiveness. Hebrews 4:14-16; 5:7-9

GOSPEL: St. Alphonsus Ligouri encourages us to meditate on the passion of Jesus every day so that the knowledge of His forgiveness and love will become a part of our consciousness and, thus, never far from our hearts and minds. As a great moral theologian, he applied his own knowledge of God’s love and mercy to our sinfulness and pointed out the path to salvation. John 18:1–19:42

think:  Without Christ, eternal life with God would not be possible.


GOOD! Whenever I had my regular confessions at the Baclaran Church, I loved to line up at the box where Fr. Talty, an elderly Redemptorist priest, would be stationed. One would know in which confessional box he would be in by just looking at the length of the line of penitents before it. His box would have the longest line of penitents.

I used to wonder what made people wait in a long line at his confessional box. I think I discovered it when I finally decided to try going to him as my confessor during my seminary years. Fr. Talty was short, white-haired and balding, and he would always be in his white Redemptorist religious habit. He was fatherly in his language, would take time to listen, and would give short but very cutting and practical exhortations to the penitent. But what I found very striking was this: after every kind and number of sin and wrongdoing that I mentioned, whatever the nature and gravity of the fault, the patient confessor would always say, “Good… Good… Good.” It made me feel light and peaceful. And Fr. Talty, I believe, said “Good,” not in approval of the sin but in deep thanksgiving for the grace of God deeply working in the heart and soul of the penitent.

Today, amidst the commemoration of that most terrible mistrial, pain and death that Jesus underwent, we say it is “Good Friday.” We rejoice not at the death of an innocent man, who is the Messiah and the Son of God. We rejoice and say “Good” for in this great offering and sacrifice of majesty and of life, sin is conquered, evil is derided and thrown out, and God’s reign of truth over humanity is declared. The Passion Narrative according to John, the one that is read out in churches today, even tells us that in His suffering and death on the Cross, Jesus gave us a treasured “going-away” gift — the motherhood of Mary. Fr. Domie Guzman, SSP

REFLECTION QUESTION: As a Christian, how ready are you to follow the Way of the Cross of Jesus: a readiness to be crushed, so that greater good for many may come out?

Grant me the courage, Lord, to follow Your Way of the Cross, whatever it may take.


FORGIVE ME – The scorching heat of summer adds to the heaviness of today’s events. Last Sunday’s shouts of “Hosanna” are now drowned by the cries of mea culpas of people who have brought Jesus to His death. I, too, must beat my chest and make my declaration: I was one of those who brought You to the cross, O Lord. I nailed Your hands and feet. I pierced Your side with my lance.

How easy it is to turn with reviling looks on those scribes and Pharisees and say, “You killed my Lord!” when I know for a fact that what they did then continues today with all the sins that I have been committing against You, my God, my neighbor and my very self.

Forgive me, Lord, for the many bad words that I have uttered, curses that I have hurled at people who displease me. Those were like the tiny spikes on the ends of the whip that scrape Your skin at every blow.

Forgive me for my many immoral acts in thought and deed. Those times that I have chosen to give in to the enticements of the flesh were like the spits that desecrated Your face, and the reed that was used to hit Your head.

Forgive me for the times I have compromised what is good and moral, because it was unpopular and I thought of them as out of sync with reality. They brought You to Your trial where You were mocked. Well, I surely mocked You with those compromises.

Forgive me for not standing up for the truth; for not doing enough for people in need; for not lifting a finger when someone needed to be saved; for denying You at the courtyard when someone charged me that I was Your disciple.

Forgive me for abandoning You when You were hanging helplessly on the cross. For using my feet that You washed to run away from You, scared of being given the same sentence as Yours.

Forgive me, forgive me, forgive me. Fr. Sandy V. Enhaynes

REFLECTION QUESTION: In what ways have you nailed Jesus to the cross?

Forgive me, Lord. Forgive me. Amen.


The Five Lessons of Good Friday:

Posted: 04/17/2014 10:16 pm EDT Updated: 04/17/2014 10:59 pm EDT

The sufferings and death of Jesus, which Christians commemorate on Good Friday, may seem far removed from our everyday lives. After all, it is almost impossible to imagine that anyone reading this essay will ever be crucified. (On the other hand, persecution of Christians continues in many parts of the world even today.) So what can the story of Jesus’ crucifixion, as recorded in the Gospels almost 2,000 years ago, teach us about our own lives?

One. Physical suffering is part of life. Unlike philosophies or belief systems that suggest that suffering is more or less an illusion, Jesus says this from the cross: suffering is real. As a fully human person, Jesus suffered. On Good Friday, he was beaten, tortured and then nailed to a cross, the most agonizing way the Roman authorities had devised for capital punishment. There, according to the Gospels, he hung for three hours. Victims of crucifixion died either from loss of blood or, more commonly, asphyxiation, as the weight of their bodies pulled on their wrists, compressed their lungs and made breathing impossible. Jesus’s life, like any human life, included physical suffering, and an immense amount of it on Good Friday.

But even before Good Friday, Jesus suffered physically, because he had a human body like yours and mine. Growing up in the tiny town of Nazareth, and later as an adult traveling throughout Galilee and Judea, Jesus likely had headaches, got the flu, sprained an ankle or two, and perhaps even broke a bone–in an era of lousy sanitation and only the most primitive of “medical” knowledge. As a fully human person with a fully human body, he suffered physical aches and pains. Good Friday was not the only day he suffered physically.

Two. Emotional suffering is part of life. When Christians speak of Jesus’s suffering on Good Friday, they tend to focus on his physical trials. Many Early Renaissance artists, for example, depicted that agony in gruesome detail, as a way of reminding Christians of what their Savior underwent. But Jesus’s “Agony on the Cross” included emotional sufferings as well. In these emotions we can see further intersections with our lives.

To begin with, Jesus of Nazareth felt a deep sense of abandonment. How could he not? All of his disciples had abandoned him before the crucifixion, save for a few faithful women and the Apostle John. Peter, his closest friend, denied even knowing him. Moreover, Jesus felt the suffering of betrayal: another close friend, Judas, betrayed him outright. How that must have weighed on his heart as he hung on the cross.

Finally, Jesus likely knew the crushing disappointment of seeing his great work seemingly come to an end. That is, he may have felt like a failure. While it’s almost impossible to know what was going on in Jesus’s mind on Good Friday (save for the few words he utters before Pontius Pilate and while on the cross) it’s not unreasonable to think that he lamented the end of his public ministry.

Now, here we enter some complicated theological terrain. On the one hand, since Jesus had a human consciousness, he would not have known what was going to happen. On the other hand, since he had a fully divine consciousness he would have.

So, on the one hand, it is possible that Jesus knew that the Resurrection was coming. (By the way, for anyone who thinks that this “lessens” his suffering, think of being in a dentist’s chair: knowing it will be over soon does not remove the pain.) In fact, Jesus predicts the Resurrection at various points in the Gospel. But it is also possible that Jesus the fully human one may have been surprised on Easter Sunday, when he was raised from the dead.

Thus, as he hung on the cross, Jesus might have mourned the end of his great project–into which he had poured his heart and soul–the end to his hopes for all his followers, the end to all that he tried to do for humanity. And so he says, “It is finished.”

Three. Suffering is not the result of sin. Sometimes it is. If we do something sinful or make immoral decisions that lead to our suffering, we could say that this suffering comes as the result of sin. But most of the time, particularly when it comes to illness and other tragedies, it is assuredly not. If you still harbor any doubts about that, think about this: Jesus, the sinless one, suffered a great deal. He was not being “punished for his sins.”

This idea was more or less common in Jesus’s time. In the Gospel of John, when Jesus meets a man who was born blind, his disciples ask, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered bluntly. “Neither this man nor his parents sinned.”

Sadly, this attitude is still common today. Recently, friend living with an operable cancer received a visit from friends she knew from her church. They callously told her that they felt her illness was the work of “Satan.” In other words, sin had entered her life and she was being punished. When she told me this, I reminded her not only of the Gospel of John, but Jesus’s own suffering.

Four. Jesus is fully human. Christians believe that Jesus Christ is fully human and fully divine. Now this is, as theologians like to say, a mystery, something that we will never be able to fully comprehend. But belief in this is essential for Christian belief. Besides, attempts to paint Jesus as either only human or only divine simply don’t square with the Jesus we encounter in the Gospels. We read of him both weeping at the death of his friend Lazarus (hardly something that the classic Aristotelian or Platonic God would do), and we also see him heal the sick, still storms, and raise people from the dead (hardly something that people expected of religious figures in first-century Galilee and Judea, or modern-day anywhere today).

In the events of his Passion, we see Jesus’s humanity on display. On Holy Thursday, in the Garden of Gethsemane Jesus says, “Remove this cup.” In other words, I don’t want to die. Only when he realizes that it is his Father’s will that he undergo death, does he assent. But initially the human one expresses, in the bluntest language possible, that he does not wish to die. Later, also revealing his humanity, he utters a great cry from the Cross, “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?” I don’t think Jesus ever despaired–to my mind, someone in union with the Father would not be able to do that–but he clearly struggled and, at that moment, felt a profound sense of God’s absence. Here is his humanity on full display.

This is often a consolation to people who pray to Jesus, the risen one in heaven. Why? Because he understands their humanity. He gets it. Christians do not have a God who cannot understand them, because God endured all the things that we do.

Five. Suffering is not the last word. The message of Good Friday is incomplete without Easter. The story of the passion is not simply of a man being brutally tortured, nailed to a cross and executed by the Romans. It is the story of a man who turns himself fully over to the Father’s will, trusts that something new will come out of this offering, and receives the astonishing gift of new life. The message of Easter is not only the Christ is risen, not only the suffering is not the last word, not only the God gives new life, but this: Nothing is impossible with God.

So may you have a prayerful Good Friday, but, more important, may you have a happy Easter.

James Martin, SJ, is a Jesuit priest and author of the new book Jesus: A Pilgrimage.


WORD Today (Is 52:13-53:12; Heb 4:14-16, 5:7-9; John 18:1-19:42): At Christ’s trial, Pilate asked us, “Do you want me to release Jesus?” “No! Release Barabbas, the criminal!” “And shall I do with HIM?” “CRUCIFY HIM!” Pilate asked, “What, crucify your king?” “We have no king but Caesar!”

With this betrayal, we reject Christ and choose the worldly god of power, profit and pleasure to rule over us. Christ prayed, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” Christ chose this day to ask for our forgiveness, to suffer so we can escape, to be punished for our betrayals, to pay the ransom for our freedom, to die so we may have life.

So let’s transform ourselves now into His channel of forgiveness, mercy and love, and say “it’s no longer i who live but Christ who lives in me.” (Fr. Iko Bajos – April 18, 2014).


Friday, March 25

Good Friday

Is 52:13 – 53:12, Heb 4:14-16; 5:7-9, Jn 18:1 – 19:42

Good Friday

In today’s liturgy we re-live and experience the suffering and death of Jesus who brought us salvation.  We followed Jesus on the way of the cross and witnessed the tragic moments of his life. We realized how Jesus identified himself with all human experiences including suffering and death. He did not spare himself from the mental agonies of a person who cries out at the moment of rejection and alienation.

The passion of Jesus must have shocked us to see how wretched and ugly human life can be at its lowest level. Prophet Isaiah graphically presents the picture of the man of sorrows in the hymn of the Suffering Servant (Is 52-53). The Suffering Servant can be nobody but the suffering Jesus in all details.  Seeing his wounded, deformed face people looked away from him. He was despised and rejected by all. And the Prophet reminds us: he was carrying our sorrows. He was punished for our sins. He was wounded for our transgressions. He bore everything for our sake silently without even opening his mouth. Let us not forget: it is by his wounds that we were healed.

It may perhaps sound strange that the day on which Jesus suffered crucifixion is commemorated as “Good Friday”. If it is a “good” day, it must be also a “beautiful” day, because goodness and beauty go hand in hand. In some languages other than English “Good Friday” is known as “Sorrowful Friday,” emphasizing the tragic aspect of the day. How can a tragic and sorrowful day be at the same time a good and beautiful day? It can be explained only by showing the paradoxical nature of this particular day.

A paradox has two contrasting faces. It is one and same reality with two different experiences. Both these experiences are true and they cannot be separated from each other like the two sides of a coin.

The Friday which is crucial to our salvation has two faces: one looking backward and the other looking forward. One looks at the suffering and humiliation of death and the other looks at the joy and glorification of resurrection. Both these aspects together constitute the Pascal Mystery.  In order to understand this mystery in its full depth, height and breadth the Church celebrates it in three days of the Pascal “Triduum” (Thee Days).

The Pascal mystery is unfolded as a “passage” from death to resurrection, beginning in the evening of the Holy Thursday and ending in the evening of the Easter Sunday. On “Good Friday” we are the crucial moment of our Pascal experience, at the peak of an awareness, where death and life meet and part at the same moment. It is like the midnight which marks, on the one hand, the end of the night and, on the other, the beginning of the dawn. It is at this moment that the fullest meaning of the cross of Jesus Christ is revealed.

The cross is that unique sign which can give us a glimpse into the meaning of the Pascal mystery. Only cross can demonstrate to us how the contrasting moments of death and resurrection, humiliation and glory are reconciled in one single experience.

The cross of Christ enables us to see suffering and death and all our struggles of day to day life in the light of resurrection. It enlightens the darkness surrounding us with the light of hope. It reminds us that we are the inheritors of the kingdom of God, even though we are still on the pilgrimage towards our final goal.

Applying the meaning of the cross into our daily life Pope John Paul II has once said that our life on earth is in the process of a continuous transformation as an artwork in the hands of the artist. He said that Christian life is creative life in which every Christian is to be turned to an artwork.

In the creation of an artwork the artist works with materials like marble, wood or paints. The artist seeks to attain the final image in the formless materials by working on them and transforming them according to the given design. In the case human life, the raw and hard experiences of day to day life, the struggles and problems, sins and failures are the materials to be transformed. The design to be realized in these life-materials is the image of Christ. The cross is the way or the method we have to adopt in sculpting our lives into beautiful artworks.

Those who do not understand the meaning of the cross may consider us as fools and despise our actions as senseless. Here we can remember the words of St. Paul in the first letter to the Corinthians: the cross is a sign of foolishness to those who are perishing, but it is the sign of God’s power and wisdom for those who are saved (cf. 1 Cor 1:18ff).

As Christians we are motivated by the vision of the hidden image of Christ in all our human experiences and we proceed to realize it, like an artist with an imaginative mind. The artist can see the possibility of a beautiful image even in a rugged marble piece.

For us believers the cross is also the symbol of the infinite love of God for humanity. St. Paul writes in his letter to the Ephesians about this all embracing love of God revealed in Jesus Christ. He wishes that we may have the power to comprehend the breadth, height and depth of this love which surpasses our comprehension (Eph 3:18). The cross of Christ is the symbol of God’s love which is extended in all cosmic directions, without excluding anybody or anything from its embrace.

In the Christian tradition the cross is known as the Tree of Life. As the symbol of resurrection and life, it is not a static object but a dynamic experience. To carry the cross means to move with Christ, following him in discipleship and to share his destiny. Jesus has explicitly said: if anyone would come after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross and follow me (Mk 8:34).

Pope Francis has emphasized in his first sermon in Vatican on 14 March the nature of Christian faith as a movement. He said, we have to move with the cross in following Jesus: “When we journey without the cross, when we build without the cross and when we confess a Christ without the cross, we are not disciples of the Lord: we are worldly, we are bishops, priests, cardinals, popes, but not disciples of the Lord.”

In the cross we find salvation, life and hope. The fruit of the cross is eternal life. Let this Good Friday imprint in our hearts the sign of the cross which may always remind us of the challenges of our life in following Jesus Christ faithfully. Dr. E Sebastian CMI


March 25, 2016

REFLECTION: It is not always easy to speak, as the expression goes, the unvarnished truth, especially when this could turn out to our disadvantage: appearing naïve, admitting a mistake, risking to indispose other people, raising opposition against us. We can also find reasons to varnish the truth, to slightly distort it, to betray it in a thousand ways. After all, we are constantly bombarded by lies: inflated advertisements, political promises which are impossible to keep, ideological propaganda, and so on.
Yet, in today’s gospel reading Jesus tells Pilate: “Everyone who is of the truth hears my voice.” Why? Because, as Jesus once defined himself, “I am the truth” (Jn 14:6). He also said that he is a shepherd and that his sheep recognize his voice and follow him (Jn 10:4).

Those who faithfully try to be truthful to themselves and to others are never far from the good Shepherd, whatever their religion or lack thereof. Their basic honesty is what makes them dear to the heart of God. Even we admire a truthful person (except when that person exposes our lies, of course). So much more does God.


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See Today’s Readings:  Year I,  Year II

Back to: Good Friday of the Lord’s Passion

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