Thursday, April 1, 2010

Good Friday Reflection

By the Cross, Christ Redeemed the World
A Reflection for Good Friday by Rev. Robert Johnnene OFD
Mission Saints Sergius and Bacchus/Franciscans of Divine Mercy
"We Adore you, O Christ, and we bless you, because by your Holy Cross you have redeemed the World" these words we say during the Stations of the Cross are a powerful affirmation of what this entire Lenten season, especially what we commemorate on Good Friday, is all about. Without Christ's death, we would not have the gift of redemption. When Jesus went to the cross, he did so willingly. He knew that he was taking all the sins of the world with him. That by the shedding of His blood, Christ made peace by reconciling everything with God according to Saint Paul. By Christ's death, a new light was brought to all men.
By his death, Christ asks us to emulate him and willingly pick up the crosses we are burdened with and to follow him.  In today's society there are many crosses being offered for us to take up. Can we carry the cross of speaking out against injustice even though it may bring us scorn and reproach by friends and family? 
Can we speak out against acts of discrimination and bigotry even though by doing so we may find ourselves in the minority?
Can we have the courage to speak out against Government leaders who are insolent and refuse to serve the will of the majority of people they are supposed to represent? 
Do we have what it takes to allow ourselves to be stripped of all our pretensions and allow the world to see our true selves? 
Can we give of ourselves enough to be of assistance to those who are not able to provide the basic necessities of life for themselves?
All these are things that require us to give of ourselves and deny ourselves of being comfortable.
By Christ's offering himself up as the sacrificial lamb on the cross we have been given the promise of Salvation, peace, compassion, love and triumph. Without the cross, the tree that gave us the promise of everlasting life, we would still be floundering around in the darkness of sin and confusion.
The Cross becomes a symbol of triumph, the triumph of Christ over the power of evil.  The completion of the mission to overcome the forces of evil is now in our ballpark.  Are we up to the challenge?
The triumph of Christ is not something of the past, it is a living thing. It is something we are called to live every day. When we are faced with oppression, illness, rejection, alienation we need to recall that all these were faced by Jesus Christ. By his life and death, Christ made holy every aspect of the human experience. We need to look upon our lives and live them with that in mind. Our lives are holy, they are holy if we are willing to work hard to live by the example Christ gave us.
Christ spoke out against injustice, so must we. Christ welcomed the outcast, so must we. Christ challenged the rules of the High Priests and the Sanhedrin and government of his day, so must we. When our government is wrong and creates laws that are oppressive, we need to speak out loudly against them.  When a government our Religious leaders insist on mandating anything that is contradictory to the teaching and example that Christ gave us we need to be willing to challenge them as Christ did.  
By living in this way we sanctify Christ's passion and relive it daily by our willingness to take up our crosses and carry them willingly.
The cross is a symbol of Christ's triumph and this Paschal Season is our liturgical means of participating in Christ's gift of redemption.  Our challenge is to live it every day of every year.
On Good Friday we celebrate the love of God; a love so great it allows us, even urges us to be co-workers in Christ's great act of love by sacrificing Himself on the cross for us.  Let us then celebrate Christ's willingness to suffer the indignities of the passion and a criminal's death on the cross, which brought us the forgiveness of our sins and our salvation and make it ours by being faithful to Him and living daily carrying our crosses proudly for all the world to see. AMEN

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