Catholic Prayers for the New Evangelization

"Catholic Prayers for the New Evangelization"

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Friday, April 10, 2009

Homily Good Friday 2009

Click on title for audio.

The mystery of the Lord’s Passion is too overwhelming to consider all at once,
and tonight we pause only at the trial of Jesus,
as the Lord of Life is brought before Pilate and condemned to the Cross.

Frustrated by the -thirsty crowds and jealous, power-hungry High Priests,
Pilate enters the Praetorium and summons Jesus, asking
“Are you the King of the Jews?”

Are you the King of this angry mob?
Are you a revolutionary threatening Roman authority?
Your own people condemns you. But what have you done?

Jesus calmly and unnervingly answers:
“My kingdom is not of this world.
If my kingdom did belong this world, my attendants would be fighting
to keep me from being handed over to the Jews.
But as it is, my kingdom is not here.”

Pilate, not understanding Jesus at all, and forced to put a label on Him, asks again:
“So, then, you are a king?”

Adding to Pilate’s confusion, Jesus responds:
“You say I am a king.
For this I was born and for this I came into the world: to testify to the truth.
Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.”
Pilate finally betrays his frustration, and the emptiness of his existence, as he asks:
“But what is truth?”

Jesus has come to testify to the truth,
but Pilate has lost all perception of truth and is absorbed in his selfish concerns.

Pilate is concerned merely about worldly matters, and most of all,
about maintaining his own reputation as a representative of Caesar
responsible for squelching rebellion in the province of Judea.

And so, when He encounters Jesus the Christ, Son of God and Savior of the world,
he is perhaps struck by Jesus’ unique presence
but is unable to grasp the reality of the One who stands before him.

This meeting of Jesus Christ and Pontius Pilate
is much like the encounter of Jesus Christ and our contemporary world,
which has devolved to such an extent
that it now asks the same pathetic question
that passed the lips of Pilate: “But what is truth?”

Like Pilate, minds are so warped that they can no longer be penetrated by truth.

Thus, reality is distorted: truth seems ugly and burdensome, while evil seems good
and for many around us the voice of God does not resonate in their hearts.

Our world is affected by an anti-establishment tendency,
and a pronounced lack of respect for authority:
the respect due to parents by their children…and also for teachers
the respect due to civil authority and law
the respect due to priests, bishops and the Holy Father
the truths of the faith, and the laws governing the Church.

Our society and our Church suffer greatly from indifferentism:
we are expected to go along with politically correct ways of thinking,
that every “religion” and “lifestyle” is as good as another.

We are oppressed as well by the dictatorship of relativism:
in society nothing is recognized as definitive
truth, we are told, is what we each fabricate or what feels good
and everyone’s ultimate goal is the satisfaction of one’s own ego and desires.

The authentic beauty of Marriage, Priesthood, human uality, the dignity of life
are distorted beyond recognition by academia and the media.

All this combines to create an atmosphere of darkness
in which vast numbers of people are the authors of their own reality.
We stand in desperation and are reduced to asking: “What is truth?”

In the midst of all this, stands the Cross.
Like a single shining lighthouse seen from a broken ship in storm-tossed sea,
the Cross gives hope to a confused and fractured world.

Jesus has come to testify to the truth, and His greatest testimony is His Passion.
The agony of the Cross testifies to the absolute value of the Gospel.
Jesus Christ is the truth...and the way…and the life!

As He promised, Jesus sent to Holy Spirit precisely to lead the Church into all truth.
Thus, the prophetic voice of Christ is heard in His Holy Catholic Church,
as the fullness of His truth resounds in the midst of the world
and yet the world still stammers: “What is truth?”

Jesus says to Pilate…and to us today…
“The one who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.”

On the other hand, the one who dismisses the voice of Christ and the Church
is living a lie and will be handed over to the governor of .

This is why Christ came into the world…and this is why we have been baptized…
to testify to the truth…by our words, our choices, and our example.

The truth which the world spurns is the defining reason for our existence.

It is time for all the disciples of Christ to be counter-cultural:

to boldly say “No, thank you!”
to the false values and lies of the world, the flesh, and the Devil
to greed, , indifference toward those in need,
and a mentality that s life

and to say instead “Yes!” to the truth of Jesus Christ
who died on the Cross for our salvation.
At last, from the pulpit of the Cross, Jesus cries out:
“Father, into your hands I commend my spirit!”

Jesus is .
For us and because of our sins he has died.
For Him and for His truth we must live.

O Lord Jesus Crucified, have mercy on us!

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