Today is Good Friday, the day we commemorate and re-live Christ’s passion and death. It is a day when we remember the incredible suffering that he endured for our sake. We can only imagine what he went through: being flogged, crowned with thorns, nailed to a cross and left to die.
We recall these events every year, and it is easy to become desensitized to what they actually mean. It is easy to forget the huge amount of will power that it took Jesus to endure the physical and spiritual suffering to which he was submitted.
In the Gospel narrations of the Passion, there is a lot of talking going on: the chief priests, Pilate, the crowds. It is interesting to note that the main protagonist, Jesus, speaks very little. In the midst of all the accusations and lies, he says nothing, as the prophesy foretold of him:
Though harshly treated, he submitted and did not open his mouth; like a lamb led to slaughter or a sheep silent before shearers, he did not open his mouth. (Isaiah 53:7)
Jesus does not need to speak; he is simply there to get the job done. It is what he came to do, and he is as determined as ever to see it through until the end. He has come to Jerusalem fully aware of what will happen to him:
When the days for his being taken up were fulfilled, he resolutely determined to journey to Jerusalem. (Luke 9:51)
Some versions translate this verse as “he set his face like flint on Jerusalem.” Our Lord’s determination is as hard as rock.
Yet, his acceptance of the cross is much more than mere stoicism. His determination is driven by his love for us. It is interesting that “passion”, the word used to describe his suffering, is also the word often used to describe intense love. Christ’s willingness to suffer is driven by his passionate love for us, a love undiminished by our lack of love for him. “Christ redeems us because he passionately embraces our rejection of him with a love unto death, and he will not let go of us.” (Erasmo Leiva-Merikakis)
This Good Friday, remember how much Jesus loves you and take a moment to respond to this love. Whether at church or on your own, take time to reflect on and enter into his Passion. Accompany Christ as he embraces his cross and remember that everything he is going through is for you. He will let you know how much he appreciates your company.
– Br. Eric Wandrey, LC