Catholic Prayers for the New Evangelization

"Catholic Prayers for the New Evangelization"

Check out the revised edition of this exciting and unique prayer book, filled with prayers that are sure to nourish the soul as we undertake the New Evangelization.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Homily Good Friday 2008

This afternoon we gather at the foot of the Cross…on the top of Calvary’s hill…
to gaze upon the glory of the moment of our salvation.

The sorrow of Mary and of Jesus’ beloved friend Saint John envelops us
as we behold the savior of the world in unimaginable agony.
Yet, we know that, had Christ not loved us even unto …
we would not have even the promise of eternal life
and would remain mired in the sins which Christ has taken upon Himself.

We consider the wounds of Christ…the deep and painful scars of His Passion.

With a piece of reed, the soldiers beat him on the head, bruising him.

A crown of sharp thorns is forced onto his head, so that his scalp bleeds.

The weapon of choice for scourging is a series of leather straps
with pieces of bone and metal fastened to the ends.
He is scourged so many times, and so violently, that his skin is literally torn off.

As He is nailed to the Cross, nine inch nails pierce
not the palms of His hands but His wrists
striking nerve endings and sending waves of pain throughout his body.

Finally, once Jesus is , a soldier pierces His side with a lance,
causing and water to burst forth from His Sacred Heart.
Even more than this, He walks the road to Calvary knowing that
the ones He loves the most…
the ones in whom He confided…
the ones to whom He entrusted His mission and Gospel…
have deserted, betrayed, and denied Him.
He walks the long and painful road to Calvary in utter loneliness.

As we consider the horror of all this, and the severity of Jesus’ suffering
we are struck with a profound mystery…indeed the most profound of all.

It is precisely in the wounds of Jesus that we are given life!

His and agony bring us healing.His brokenness makes us whole.
His poured out washes us clean.
His emptiness restores what is lost and missing within us because of sin.
His tramples our and brings us life.

Jesus endured and even embraced these wounds…
not for Himself and not merely for the sake of a “community of believers”
but for the salvation of individual sinners…for you and me personally
as each one passed before the mind of the infinite Son of God.

There was a moent on the road to Calvary when Jesus through of YOU...and love YOU!

He embraced His Cross…despite its shame…
so that we…in our woundedness…might embrace our “crosses”
and in uniting our sufferings to His…might find the path to eternal life.

The mystery of the Cross is not that it removes suffering from human life…
or that because we are disciples of Christ life is suddenly easy…
but that Christ, the Son of God, knows our human suffering well
and walks beside us every step of our own roads to our own “Calvary.”

When we are sick and in pain…
When we are beaten and scourged my life’s many burdens…
When we are betrayed by those we love, denied by those who ought to help us…
and deserted by the ones who are supposed to be our friends….
When suffering becomes unbearable and injustice incomprehensible…
Christ walks the lonely road with us.

What is more…from that gaping wound in His side…flowed and water…
the fountain of sacramental life in the Church…
without which our human existence would remain barren and dark.

Without Christ there is no life.
Without His Cross there is no mercy…
Without His wounds there is no divine life through the Sacraments…
Without His Sacrifice there is no Eucharist…and thus no Church!

Thus, we are not ashamed of the Cross…nor of the immense agony it represents.
We do not shrink from proclaiming or celebrating the Crucifixion.
We ought not fear to display the Crucifix prominently in our homes.

We do not ignore the scandal of the Cross for in it is the source of life!

We love and embrace the Cross…today we come forward to bend the knee
and to kiss the relic of the True Cross of Jesus
that we are so privileged to have here in our Church.

As we continue to ponder the Lord’s Paschal Mystery…
there is one striking phrase that resounds with rich and powerful meaning.

It is a phrase that is at once the words of Jesus at the Last Supper
and surely His mantra on the road to Calvary…
and at the same time the convenient phrase of so many modern evils.
“This is my Body!”

Jesus speaks these words as He institutes the Eucharist and the Priesthood
on the evening before His betrayal.

As the joyful moment of Jesus’ communion with His friends and brothers
transitions into the day of His Passion…
as the road to Calvary seems without end, and the suffering without relent
He continued both to say and to show by His infinite love:
“This is my body…given up for you!”

In our world that same phrase is misused and twisted
by those who represent exactly the opposite of the Gospel of Jesus Christ!

Proponents of various kinds of manipulation of the body
abusers of and alcohol
and in particular advocates of the of unborn human life
all say…in one way or another…
“this is my body…I can do with it what I want!”

In stark contrast…Jesus says…by His words and by His wounds…
“This is my body…given up for you!”

The compelling challenge of Christian discipleship is to sacrifice as Jesus did…
to accept in complete humility the trials and unexpected crosses of daily life
with patience, selflessness, and love.
Bitterness because life is hard and doesn’t go our way as we planned it…
and anger with God and the Church
because the demands of the Christian life do not meet our standards
are unacceptable attitudes in the face of the Crucified Jesus…
who never once complained as He embraced His Passion.

Today begins the Nine-Day prayer called the Divine Mercy Novena,
which runs through Divine Mercy Sunday…the Sunday after Easter…
which our parish will celebrate with a holy hour.

The chaplet and novena of Divine Mercy
were was revealed by the Lord to a Polish nun
named Sr. Faustina Kowalska, during Lent in 1931.

Jesus appeared to her with rays emanating form the wound in His side…
red for His saving and white for the waters of Baptism.

This same wound we contemplate today…the source of our life and salvation!
It is good for our souls to pray this prayer,
asking God’s mercy for ourselves and for the whole world.
Brochures are available in the gathering space.
Please pray this special prayer with me in this holy season.

The wounds of Jesus endured on this “Good” Friday are the source of our life.
In our woundedness we turn to Christ…
clinging to Him who shares our burdens
and draws us into the life of divine mercy and grace through the sacraments.
We in turn commit ourselves to giving our whole lives that others may have life…
by the living presence of the passionate Christ living in us.

O Lord Jesus Crucified, have mercy on us!

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