Meanwhile, standing near the cross of Jesus were his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing beside her, he said to his mother, “Woman, here is your son.” Then he said to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” And from that hour the disciple took her into his own home.
It was now about noon, and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon, while the sun’s light failed; and the curtain of the temple was torn in two. Then Jesus, crying with a loud voice, said, “Father, into your hands, I commend my spirit.” Having said this, he breathed his last. When the centurion saw what had taken place, he praised God and said, “Certainly this man was innocent.”
Now there was a good and righteous man named Joseph, who, though a member of the council, had not agreed to their plan and action. He came from the Jewish town of Arimathea, and he was waiting expectantly for the kingdom of God. This man went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Then he took it down, wrapped it in a linen cloth, and laid it in a rock-hewn tomb where no one had ever been laid. It was the day of Preparation, and the Sabbath was beginning.
Today is Good Friday. We remember that Jesus Christ knew our human griefs. We acknowledge the pain of human loss. We recognize our need for the grace of God so that in pain we may find comfort, in sorrow, hope, in death, resurrection. We remember with praise, thanksgiving, and blessing to God that dying, Jesus Christ destroyed the power of sin and our death.
Amidst the suffering and death of Christ on the cross, we see people from all walks of life transformed, blessed and carrying forth the godly virtues of faith, hope, and love they first observed in Christ. For example, we see faith and love when a close friend assumes responsibility for the blessed care of Jesus’ mother, creating a new Christ-centered, non-biological family, and humanity. We witness the emergence of faith and hope when a centurion becomes a worshipper by the blessing of observing the strength, dignity, grace, and faith expressed by an innocent Jesus crucified. And, we observe the virtue of love when a man of social standing and financial means assumes responsibility for Jesus’ funeral arrangements, blessing the dignity of Jesus, and the spirits of Jesus’ family and disciples.
The blessings of family care and support, praise, proclamation, advocacy for the defenseless, and generosity powerfully show forth in these last three stations of the cross. Are not the fruit of blessings the marks of discipleship and marks of Christian character? Are not these blessings the marks of discipleship generated in people that have first experienced the blessed inward touch of Christ’s love, faith, and hope? Are not these people, touched by Christ’s holy grace, now desirous of patterning their lives after Christ’s who said to Peter after blessing him by washing his feet, “I have set you an example that you should do as I have done to you; you will be blessed if you do them.” (John 13:14,17).
Something profoundly transformative, freeing, life-giving, and blessed generates deep within our soul and spirit when we pay attention to how Jesus submitted himself to the will of God and closely follow him on the path of the cross. First, we learn that we are blessed children of God and that nothing – hardship, distress, persecution, famine, nakedness, peril, or sword – can separate us from the love of Christ. We are blessed with God’s wisdom that enables us to see a bigger kingdom picture and vision. By observing the courage of Jesus, we are blessed to have access to the same courage for living. By observing both the darkness and goodness of humanity, we can be self-aware of the darkness and goodness in us and seek the blessed goodness of Christ to be formed within us for the sake of a broken world in need of healing. We are blessed with the grace to entrust our lives to God’s love with hope in the difficult days and seasons of our lives. We can see the darkness of injustice and choose to live doing justice that blesses and uplifts. And, we live with the blessing of a forgiving spirit that frees us from the captivity of hatred. And we are blessed to know that even in our Good Friday’s, Sunday is Coming! Because we know that all things work together for good for those who love God and are called according to his purpose.
Paz – Peace
The Grace We Need – The grace to more fully understand what Jesus means when he says, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.” (Matthew 16:24)
Let nothing disturb you; nothing frighten you; All things are passing; God never changes; Patient endurance attains all things; Whoever possesses God is wanting in nothing; God alone suffices. Teresa of Avila