IT IS FINISHED!
Good Friday of the Lord's Passion
Scriptural Readings: Isaiah 52:13-53:12; Psalm 31:2+6, 12-13, 15-16, 17+25 Hebrews 4:14-16; 5:7-9; John 18:1-19:42
My dear encountered couples:
Did you hear anything? Did you hear somebody cry out when Jesus died? I am sorry to say, neither did I. But there must have been a cry, there must have been a scream, there must have been a wail so piercing that it reverberated throughout the halls of heaven when Jesus in his final agony said, “It is finished,” then bowed his head and died.
Could it be possible that at the moment Jesus died his Father in heaven didn’t utter even a whimper? Maybe I am only imagining it. But I think that God let go with a cry so loud and piercing when his Son died that it could be heard not only throughout heaven but to the very depths of hell. Unfortunately, nobody on earth seems to have heard it, and as far as I know it continues to go unnoticed to this very day. It is quite possible that only angels heard God cry out when his Son died. Are they still the only ones who hear him cry out when any of his children die?
God made us to live, and to live forever. We weren’t created for death. We weren’t created to suffer and die and be torn from those we love, and who love us. We were created for happiness, for joy, for love and peace and everlasting life. It was sin that wrecked God plans. It was sin that brought death to our world. It was sin that put the Son of God on the cross and caused God, the Creator and Father of us all, to cry out in sheer agony. God sent his only Son into the world to die for our crimes, but in heaven his Father also was dying. Can we ever begin to really imagine the agony we cause in the heart of our heavenly Father when we sin?
Have you ever hurt your mother? Have you ever done something that caused your mother to cry? Can you remember a time in your life doing anything at all that you now realize hurt your mother deeply? Maybe like a sword plunged into her heart? If you can, how does that make you feel? Proud of yourself?
Are you glad you asserted your independence and did what you wanted to do and not what your mother knew was best for you? I wonder how mothers and fathers feel when their sons and daughters end up in jail, or worse, when they end up on death row. That is exactly where our sins put the Son of God. And we can be sure our sins also put his Father’s heart right there with him.
Every time we sin, we crucify Christ. And when we crucify Christ, God the Father cries out - and loudly. It may be very difficult for us to understand, it is certainly impossible to clearly picture, but each and every commandment of God we consciously and intentionally break makes us willing players in the passion and death of Jesus Christ.
Every temptation we submit to, every sin we are guilty of not only causes pain and death to Jesus Christ, it pierces to the very core of the heart of God. Anyone who is really sensitive to Jesus and his Father would avoid sin in all its forms. Have you ever intentionally made your mother cry? When we sin we intentionally make our Father cry. Today his cry is an agonizing scream.
Do you hear it? Neither do I. But we can imagine the angels do. And perhaps the saints. It happens whenever we sin. Maybe we should consider that the next time we are tempted. Maybe we should listen harder the next time we sin. A loud wailing can be heard throughout heaven. God’s Son has just died.
Loving God, Your desire is for our wholeness and well being. We hold in tenderness and prayer the collective suffering of our world at this time. We grieve precious lives lost and vulnerable lives threatened.
We ache for ourselves and our neighbors, standing before an uncertain future. We pray: may love, not fear, go viral. Inspire our leaders to discern and choose wisely, aligned with the common good.
Help us to practice social distancing and reveal to us new and creative ways to come together in spirit and in solidarity. Call us to profound trust in your faithful presence, You, the God who does not abandon. Amen.