The Solemnity of
Friday of the Passion of Our Lord
March 30, 2018 Cycle B
by Rev. Jose Maria Cortes, F.S.C.B.
Sunday Reading Meditations
In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.
On Good Friday, Jesus is closer to us than ever. Hanging on the cross, He totally identifies with us: “In the days when Christ was in the flesh, he offered prayers and supplications with loud cries and tears to the one who was able to save him from death” (Heb 5:7).
Today, we contemplate the humanity of God on the cross.
The secular and developed world has a problem: it does not have a solution for suffering and death. Some days ago, I read an article on the front page of the Post, which horrified me: “Couple chose death to end Alzheimer’s ordeal” (Dana Hedgpeth and Lori Aratani, The Washington Post, March 30, 2012). It was about a couple who committed suicide together because one of them had dementia. The story was presented as a story of love, compassion and humanity. Euthanasia is a natural consequence when the meaning of human suffering is not understood.
Life is hard. We need to accept that. An easy life does not exist, except as a mirage. When we try to avoid difficulties, the end result is that we encounter even greater ones. Sooner or later, the invoice will arrive and the dream will end. Thinking that life should be easy or that we are entitled to be free of troubles makes life even more difficult than it actually is.
Why is life so hard? Some people might say: “Life is no life without a fight!” However, it is not enough to say that. We need meaning. What makes us different from animals and plants is our need for meaning. Why do we have to suffer?
We need to look at Jesus hanging on the cross, where we can find the meaning that we seek. Jesus did not come to end suffering. If he had come with that mission, he would have been a failure. The French poet Paul Claudel says: “Jesus did not come to explain away suffering, or to remove it. He came to fill it with his presence.” We need to find Jesus’ presence inside of what makes us suffer.
We need to learn how to suffer with Jesus. How did Jesus endure his suffering? He entrusted himself to the Father: “Father, into your hands I commend my Spirit” (Lk 23:46). Christ on the cross entrusted himself, humanity and the universe into the Father’s hands. He also invites us to entrust ourselves to God, Our Father. Today’s psalm says: “My trust is in you, O Lord; I say, ‘You are my God. In your hands is my destiny.’ […] Take courage and be stouthearted, all you who hope in the Lord” (Ps 31:15–16, 25).
Jesus transformed suffering into love, negative into positive. With Christ, sacrifice is a gateway to fullness. The first reading says: “Because of his affliction he shall see the light in fullness of days” (Is 53:11).
Our Lady of Sorrows, Our Sorrowful Mother, you who stood beside the cross, where your Son entrusted us to you, help us in our weakness. Obtain for us the grace of understanding the meaning of the saving cross. Amen.
The Resurrection, Josip Botteri Dini
Easter Sunday—April 8, 2012
Acts 10:34a, 37-43
Ps 118:1-2, 16-17, 22-23.
After the Sabbath, at the dawn of the first day of the week, three women went to Jesus’ tomb in order to pay their final respects. On their way, they were asking themselves: “Who will roll back the stone for us from the entrance to the tomb?” (Mk 16:3). They had no idea that they were about to become the first witnesses to the greatest event in human history: the Resurrection of Christ.
Jesus’ Resurrection is the central truth of our faith. It fills our hearts with joy and hope. Jesus is truly risen! He is alive! When we say this, we are not talking about a myth or a parable. He is really among us!
How can we be certain? Where can we find signs that Christ is alive?
In today’s Gospel, Mary Magdalene, Mary, mother of James, and Salome went to the tomb to anoint a dead person. Their hopes had ended with Jesus’ last breath on the Cross. It was all over. Now they only had to mourn the dead and keep his memory alive in their hearts.
When they arrived at the tomb, they were astonished to find the stone rolled back and a mysterious young man sitting on it. God had sent an angel to roll back the stone and announce Jesus’ Resurrection.
The angel was the witness who knew what had happened and was already surrounded by the light of the Resurrection, a light that did not come from within but radiated from something greater than himself.
In this angel, we can see the Church, all the witnesses through whom we have received the gift of faith. In him, we see all the testimonies that help us to live our faith now.
The stone symbolizes human despair, everything that prevents us from achieving happiness and fulfilling our destiny. The stone of the tomb is the experience of death, the experience of limitation. The stone symbolizes what we cannot overcome by our efforts, what is impossible for us.
We can believe in Jesus’ Resurrection because we have already seen God’s action in our lives. Many stones have already been rolled back. If we attentively contemplate our stories of faith, we cannot fail to recognize the power of the action of Our Lord at certain moments in our lives.
The angel and the stone are signs through which Jesus shows us that he is alive.
If we examine the witnesses with listening hearts and look for signs of God’s action around us, we know that Jesus is truly risen. He is alive!
Let us ask for the celebration of Easter to increase the certainty of our faith and renew our joy, peace and hope. Let us ask for the courage to be bold witnesses to the Resurrection.