Triduum Sacrum: Good Friday of the Lord’s Passion
Isaiah 52:13 – 53:12; Psalm 31; Hebrews 4:14-16; 5:7-9; John 18:1 – 19:42
Did you notice how Jesus was buried?
Do you not find it unusual that Jesus is anointed with one hundred pounds of myrrh and aloes, wrapped in fine linen and placed in a new tomb? Does this look like the burial of a backwater criminal?
Did you witness other aspects that seemed odd?
Like, when confronted by the crowd of soldiers and guards led by Judas, Jesus confidently walks out toward them and questions them. “Whom are you looking for?” They are the ones who are afraid.
When questioned by the high priest Annas and later by the governor Pilate, we need to ask, who is being interrogated? Jesus asks as many direct questions as they and makes prosecutorial statements with the best of any defense attorney.
Remarkably Pilate does not take the judge’s bench at Gabbatha but rather seats Jesus as judge.
With self-assurance Jesus directs all sorts of activities from the cross. He creates a new family for his mother with his beloved disciple. Jesus drinks wine, the drink of the Kingdom of God. He declares that all debt is paid in full, “It is finished!” And Jesus’ final act is to breathe out his spirit upon us. Good Friday and Pentecost are one!
Does any of this strike you as a Passion story? Where is the suffering?
Can you have a Passion without any passion?
But there is passion here. Did we not see it?
It is a passion for you and me. A deep desire to protect and defend us that we might be healed.
Jesus asks the ultimate life question of all of us, “Whom are you looking for?” So, WHOM are YOU looking for? There are many people, including you and me, some members to whatever extent are within the community of the church and those beyond the embrace of the church who are seeking for something that satisfies, for a relationship that makes us complete. So we try and ourselves fill what is lacking within us. We eat too much, buy too much, sexually act out, talk too much, fill every moment with some form of technology so we do not encounter our loneliness and hunger. Are not all of us like a starving person who no longer feels the pain of hunger?
Like the fruit in the garden of Eden so much is offered to us that is “good, pleasing to the eyes and desirable…” [See Genesis 3:6] Yet we innately know deep within our being, if we are willing to listen to our souls, that we are not satisfied with what our culture offers us.
Jesus whose first sign at Cana in Galilee turned water into celebratory rich, choice wine and who offered life – giving water to the thirsty woman of Samaria, now, himself is thirsty. Jesus thirsts for our salvation. He drinks the wine of the kingdom of God on the cross so passionate is his desire for us. And so I invite you tonight in turn to truly take time at the veneration of the cross to kiss the cross or take the cross from the server and embrace it to your chest. Today is not about a dead Jesus but the Living Son of God who confidently walks toward us and asks, “Whom are you looking for?”
And so that we can be assured of his love. Jesus offers us, even in death, a final promise. Jesus, like a woman filled with new life, births us the Church, in his own blood and water. The waters of Baptism and his own blood in the Eucharist are the seal of this deep love and commitment for us.
At the Passover celebrations of Easter in our searching and wanting for more, we will be asked to recommit ourselves to Jesus in the renewal of our Baptismal Promises. Is our personal life story a passion? Or is our life passionless? Do you and I suffer a deep desire and commitment for anything – anyone in life? Do we confidently go out toward others? Do we defend those in need like a zealous defense lawyer? Do we create family where there is none?
The passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ is looking for you and me.
“Whom are you looking for?”