On this Good Friday, we commemorate the day that Jesus Christ died on the Cross. We reflect on His suffering and death, His Passion. Passion refers to all of His suffering - physical, spiritual, and mental - and points us to a new way of living.
BUTTERWORTH, MALAYSIA (Catholic Online) - To many the Passion of Jesus Christ is a lesson in history where we sympathize with Christ for the sufferings he went through before he died. We find it hard to believe how the people can be so cruel as to inflict the most severe form of pain on a man who we know was innocent.
For Christians the Passion should be more than a lesson in history. It should become a lesson in life, teaching us how to stand up for truth and justice. The Passion we commemorate is based primarily on biblical accounts of the arrest, trial, and crucifixion of Jesus Christ. From these accounts we know Jesus was falsely accused, convicted and sentenced, not by fine or imprisonment, but to death by crucifixion, the severest form of sentence a man can possibly get. As if that was not enough, before he was crucified he was humiliated, severely persecuted, whipped, scourged, crowned with thorns, dragged up a hill carrying a heavy cross, stripped of his clothes and then nailed to the cross, watched by many, like a hardcore criminal.
What crime did Jesus commit that deserved to be punished in that most inhumane way? It was for proclaiming the TRUTH. Yes, Jesus was tortured, humiliated and killed not for lying, corruption, rape or murder but for telling the truth, the truth which caused so much fear among those in positions of power and comfort. He was a threat to their social security and had to be eliminated at costs. Throughout the journey of his passion, what was astonishing was the way Jesus humbly accepted his punishment which he knew was unfair and unjust. However he accepted all that willingly without fighting back or defending himself. He did not show even the slightest anger or retaliation for being victimized, falsely accused and sentenced by the kangaroo court that tried him. He did not get angry with those who accused him, Pilate who sentenced him and the Roman soldiers who executed him. Instead he had the great magnanimity to forgive all of them who took turns to insult torture and kill him. It was the highest level of humility that no ordinary man can have. This was in keeping with what was written "He was oppressed, yet when he was afflicted he didn't open his mouth; as a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and as a sheep that before its shearers is mute, so he didn't open his mouth".( Isaiah 53:7). Jesus taught us to love our enemies and to offer the other cheek when struck on one. He demonstrated that he really meant what he said by accepting his Passion so willingly. We call ourselves Christians, the followers of Christ, but how Christ-like are we in accepting humiliation and pain for speaking the truth? How Christ-like are we when we are accused of offences we did not commit? Are we humble enough not to strike back? Do we forgive those who accuse us? What lesson does the Passion of Christ provide us in our own lives? We too in own small ways are often falsely accused, humiliated and punished for standing up for truth, by the authorities in the government, our places of work, families and even in the church. When we are denied our rights we fight back fiercely, sometimes with vengeance. We organize protests, demonstrations, hurl verbal abuses ...we may even resort to violence and wars. Many of us behave like those who made false accusations against Jesus and wanted to get rid of him. We too make false accusations against those who are against us in order to get them out of our way. We resort to all forms of tactics to succeed. We fail to realize that our efforts cause pain and suffering to the person involved and sometimes to his or her family. There may be others among us, especially those in positions of power, who behave like Pilate, refusing to stand up to public pressure for fear of losing our power. Due to our greed, we succumb to the wrongful demands of the public and wash our hands of the problems of those in need or those who stand for truth. Like the Roman soldiers who crucified Jesus, there are many among us, who carry out the "execution" of others without empathy or compassion. Even if we know it is wrong, we carry it out anyway for fear of the authorities or some material reward. As we make the final Way of the Cross and read the Passion of Christ this Good Friday, let us reflect on its relevance in our own lives, of Jesus´ actions during his agonizing times. Let his Passion not be just a lesson in history to commemorate Christ´s suffering at the hands of his own people. His Passion is not only something to sympathize or be sorrowful about but a real lesson for us as we encounter the many challenges in our own lives. Christ´s humility and forgiveness even towards his adversaries is infinite. That is an invitation to us. That kind of love is not just what Christianity is meant to be what humanity is about. The Cross is a sign of love, freedom and hope not sorrow and despair as we often make it to be. Let us pick it up on this Good Friday with the One who transforms it into an instrument of transformation and infinite love.
By Alex Basile
Author Alex Basile reflects of the true meaning of the Resurrection of Christ and how many Christians overlook the real joy of Easter. In the haziness of the first Easter morning, Mary Magdalene made her way to tomb of her friend and teacher. Fighting back tears and ... continue reading
By Fr. James Farfaglia
With the resurrection of Jesus, the physical is exalted. When we truly believe in Jesus, we are resurrected in this life because we are freed from the fear and worry that are characteristic of a godless life; we are freed from the unhappiness of a life filled ... continue reading
By F. K. Bartels
There is great cause for belief in the Resurrection. One of the most wonderful tenets of Catholicism and the true Christian religion the Church transmits, is that the Resurrection is a historical event. We do not believe Christ is resurrected only because we are told ... continue reading
By Randy Sly
While Easter is a Solemnity and an Octave Feast, it is also a 50-day journey until Pentecost. We continue to remember his resurrection with special devotion. Saint Augustine shares this perspective: "The season before Easter signifies the troubles in which we ... continue reading
By Fr. Randy Sly
Just as the Chief Priests and Pharisees gathered with Pilate to plan on keeping the tomb sealed and guarded with Christ inside, many today want to place a stone in the entrance of the Church, to keep him inside again. On Holy Saturday we remember that no matter how ... continue reading
By Deacon Keith Fournier
Something strange is happening - there is a great silence on earth today, a great silence and stillness. The whole earth keeps silence because the King is asleep. The earth trembled and is still because God has fallen asleep in the flesh and he has raised up all ... continue reading
By Deacon Keith Fournier
Christ has flooded the universe with divine and sanctifying waves. For the thirsty, he sends a spring of living water from the wound, which the spear opened in His Side. From the wound in Christ's side has come forth the Church, and He has made her His Bride. ... continue reading
By Michael Terheyden
Pope Francis said something during his first general audience that inspired me to reflect on the suffering Jesus endured during his Passion for the sake of our redemption. He said, "Living Holy Week means increasingly entering into God's logic, the logic of the Cross. ... continue reading
By Michael Terheyden
KNOXVILLE, TN (Catholic Online) - The Passion of Christ represents the most atrocious miscarriage of justice in all of human history. So when we come face to face with the crucified Christ on Good Friday, it is only natural for us to reflect on the nature of sin.I ... continue reading
By F. K. Bartels
The entire meaning of Lent, Holy Thursday, the Easter Triduum, can be summed up in this sentence from the gospel of John, "He loved his own in the world and he loved them to the end," since it speaks about the entire content of the life and mission of Jesus Christ; ... continue reading