Good Friday

In 05 Homilies by Fr. Reid on 2016/03/24 at 12:00 AM

• With today’s reading of our Lord’s passion, we are presented once again with the desolate panorama of human sinfulness in all of its heartbreaking ugliness.
• Our Lord’s Passion demonstrates for us the depths of depravity to which man can fall. It is a stark reminder that within all of us lies the capacity for great wickedness.
• Fittingly, our Lord’s passion begins in a garden. Just as our Lord was betrayed in a garden by Adam and Eve in times primordial, so too is He betrayed again in a garden by Judas and the leaders of the Jewish people.
• Thus, what should be a place of natural beauty and peace becomes the scene of man’s greatest display of true ugliness and division.
• But in our Lord’s Passion we also see the comparatively greater beauty of love manifested in patient courage and sacrifice as we witness Jesus willingly embracing the sufferings foretold in the Scriptures that were the necessary price for man’s salvation.
• This is why when Judas and a band of soldiers and guards from the chief priest and the Pharisees approached our Lord in the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus answers without hesitation that He is the One Whom they are looking for.
• Moreover, Christ knew full well what awaited Him in submitting to arrest.
• And yet so pure and courageous was our Lord’s declaration of His identity and His
willingness to suffer, that St. John records that Judas and the cohort of guards turned
away and fell to the ground when our Lord said, “I AM.”
• In this small detail from Scripture we are given a foreshadowing of the great power of
love to conquer evil. And this is a detail of which we must not lose sight today.
• One of the defining traits of the devil is that he is a liar. Indeed, satan is the father of lies. In fact, all evil is in some sense a lie, for evil stands against and counterfeits that which is good and true and beautiful.
• One of the lies that the evil one constantly manufactures is that he is stronger and more powerful than God, and that evil has the power to conquer truth, goodness, and beauty. And at first glance, it may seem that our Lord’s suffering and death bear this out.
• But the evil and bitter hatred that we see poured out upon our Lord by Judas, the chief priests, the Pharisees, and the Romans is effective only to the degree that our Lord allows it to be so.
• When we examine the story closely, St. John shows us that while Jesus is the victim of the evil machinations of His foes, He is a victim only because He is also the priest who offers Himself. His death is completely voluntary and at His own command.
• Yes, Jesus is the victim, the One immolated on the altar of the cross for our sins. But He is also the great high priest who offers Himself willingly up to death so that we might live!
• When He mounts that cross, Jesus does so as a king mounting a throne. And in His suffering on that cross, Jesus reigns in majesty! What we learn from the Passion is that our Lord allows evil to happen only to draw a greater good from it, viz., our salvation.
• St. John of the Cross once wrote that: “Love is repaid by love alone.” In creating us in love as He did, our Lord desired that His creatures would love Him in return.
• To this end, God has given us the capacity to choose. He has given us freedom, for there can be no love that is not freely chosen; love requires a free act of the will.
• Thus, the proper end to which our free will should be directed is God’s will. God has given us the power to choose so that we will choose Him. Of course human history shows us that man often fails in this regard.
• Yet God’s omnipotence is never thwarted. While we may fail to follow His will, and even while we may commit evil that is completely contrary to God’s explicit will, evil can never overpower, outwit, or undermine our Lord. God always wins in the end.
• And Easter is our yearly reminder of this simple, immutable truth: our Lord is all- powerful, even over sin and death!
• My brothers and sisters, let us therefore commit ourselves today to being good subjects to Christ our King! Let us recognize His power and authority, and willingly submit to His humble yoke so that we may enjoy His protection and love.
• While the temptation to sin may always be with us, let us not fall prey to the lies and machinations of the evil one, who has no power over us, except what is given him.
• May Jesus Christ, Who is both priest and victim, be praised now and forever.

© Reverend Timothy Reid

Fr. Reid is the pastor of St. Ann Catholic Church, Charlotte, NC

Homilies from June 17, 2012 onward have audio.
To enable the audio, lease go directly to Fr. Reid’s homily homilies and select the matching date.

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