Good Friday 2019
In my parents’ BIG house, which is now sold, there was this TREE in the backyard!
When we had first moved into that house the backyard was a mess and I was a young boy at the time. We 5 kids were given a HOUSE-WARMING present from our father…
FIVE SHOVELS and a TREE!!
Our dad said; “Plant the tree wherever you want.” And we did and he followed through creating a beautifully landscaped backyard.
And every time we had a family gathering, BIRTHDAY, HOLIDAY, our parents made us STAND IN FRONT OF THE TREE and take our pictures!!!
The TREE became the backdrop for our family gatherings. Today at this FAMILY GATHERING you all have the backdrop of another kind of TREE…. The wood of the cross!
I HAVE a nephew who is now a sophomore in HIGH SCHOOL. He’s typically a pretty happy kid.
When he was in either kindergarten or first grade on break from school during holy week he came down for breakfast on GOOD FRIDAY morning. His mom and dad were at the table sipping coffee. He looks at both of them and exclaims in sort of a rough voice:
“It’s gonna be a BAD DAY!”
My brother-in-law and sister looked puzzled and said:
“What do you mean, BAD DAY?”
And then he simply pantomimed this:
(He stretched out his arms as on a cross and then slumped his head down to show he died!)
For him it was a bad day that Jesus died on the cross!!
For us, for the most part we can say, it’s a bad day, but, it was the only way for JESUS to atone for all the sins of all humanity, past, present, and future. That changes things about this day… maybe NOT SO BAD at all!
That’s why Saint Paul calls the cross a sign of contradiction…..or in other words, illogical and inconsistent……Here’s Jesus Christ, God and Man, powerful and loving, but now…on GOOD FRIDAY, he’s the opposite!!!! He is stripped, humiliated, POWERLESS!
Even Simeon prophesied that Jesus would be a sign of contradiction when he was PRESENTED to the Lord at the beginning of his life.
The cross has always been both “out of place” and “100% relevant”. So, it’s both BAD and GOOD!
It’s BAD, because of the anguishing and excruciating way Jesus had to die …………….
It’s good because it’s God’s answer to forgive our sinfulness.
Jesus dying on the cross wins back our souls from sinfulness. That’s why they say the weight of the cross is the weight of all our sins, past present and future.
You came today, to hear the PASSION, to venerate the cross, and to receive Holy Communion so as to help you live as Christ wants of us today. MAKE IT A GOOD DAY!