- The Abbey of the Genesee - http://www.geneseeabbey.org -

April 14, 2017

Fr. Jerome Machar, OCSO [1]

Good Friday
Isaiah52:13-53:12; Hebrews 31: 2, 6, 12-13, 15-16, 17, 25; John 18: 1-19:42

  1. We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you
  2. Because by Your holy Cross, You have redeemed the world.

To understand what happened on Calvary, we need to separate what was happening on the surface from the deeper happen that was taking place. It is important that we look at the passion from inside Jesus’ heart. The prophet Isaiah foretold the sufferings of the Servant of God. He declared that the Servant would take to himself all our sins and by His wounds produce the healing remedy. Not clinging to the glory that was rightfully His as God, Jesus took our sins upon his shoulders so that we could be clothed in His glory. He chose to be rejected so that we might become a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession (1 Pet. 2:9). Because of His great and boundless love, we have been made a new creation. By His passion and death, Christ redeemed us and brought us into the kingdom of life. By dying to make us His own, Christ has taught us to keep our eyes on Him and to love Him Who first loved us.

A drama of love and mercy was playing out in the recesses of Jesus’ heart. With His dying breath, Jesus made His soul a free-will offering for sin and a ransom for the whole of humanity. In light of this great offering, the author of Hebrews reminds us: Since we have such a great High Priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess (Heb. 4:14). Let us ponder every word that comes forth from the mouth of God. Let us open our hearts to the Spirit that is encapsulated in the Sacred Text. Having been conformed to the Person of the Son, let us draw others into the embrace of Divine Love. Because in His love, Christ has forgiven us all our sins, we should encourage others to come to the mercy seat of the Lamb Who was slain so that we might have life on Him.

The Prophet Isaiah wrote: He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem (Is. 53: 3). He chose to be despised so that we might come to know the great love God has for us. He chose to be rejected so that we might be numbered among the elect, summoned to enter the Kingdom of God.  He chose to suffer the indignities of crucifixion so that by His wounds we might be healed. He chose to be condemned to death so that we might be saved. The darkness that enveloped Calvary could not eclipse the victory of love over hate, of trust over fear, and of forgiveness over evil.

Jesus bound and nailed to the cross to liberate the children of Adam and Eve from the consequences of their disobedience. On the cross, Christ remade us in the image and likeness of God. In the Obedience of the Beloved Son we are made sons and daughters of the Loving Father. Let us ask the Lord to open our hearts so that we might live others as we have been loved. Through humility and obedience to the will of God, we, like Christ, make all things new. Because Christ was lifted up on the Cross and has drawn us to Himself, the world has been made anew. “I love you, my Jesus, and I repent of ever having offended you. Never permit me to offend You again. Grant that I may love You always; and then do with me what You will (St. Alphonsus Liguori).