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, April 07, 2012

Good Friday Homily 2012

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Good Friday 2012

The movie of the moment is The Hunger Games,
both the books and the film are all the rage with my students.

A post-war civilization called
Panem now exists in place of the Americas.
Each of 12 districts is required to
select by lottery one young boy and girl
send them as tributes to the Capitol,
lies all the power and wealth,
for a battle of strategy and survival.
Reminiscent of the gladiatorial
games of ancient Rome’s Coliseum,
Hunger Games is a fight to the death among the 24 “Tributes”
by blood-thirsty millions via television.

Early on in the film, during the
reaping to choose the tributes in District 12,
protagonist Katniss Everdeen, a girl of about 18,
herself in place of her much younger sister.
She enters the game through a free
choice to value another’s life above her own
to take the place of one surely destined to die.
As the
story unfolds, selflessness and sacrifice are exemplified in her choices.

it is love and other-centeredness that triumph over the evil of the game.
The real
winners are not those who will murder the innocent to survive
but those who will choose love and
truly live.

The most
poignant example of real-life self-sacrifice we have
is the story of Saint Maximilian
In an act
of love nearest as humanly possible to the sacrifice of Christ,
Maximilian, a Franciscan Friar and
Nazi prisoner in Auschwitz,
volunteered his life in place
of a fellow prisoner – a stranger –
condemned to death
by starvation.
He valued
that man’s life above his own and took the place of one destined to die.

On this day
we call Good Friday, despite its agony for the story’s protagonist,
we remember the sacrifice that given
meaning to all others:
Jesus Christ, who first
entered our world in an act of supreme humility,
takes the place of
us who are condemned because of our sins
and submits Himself
for our sake to the agony of the Cross.

On the
night before he suffered, He felt entirely empty in His humanity
as He prayed anxiously and sweat blood
in the Garden of Gethsemane.
He cried
out: “Father, if it possible, take this
cup away from me!”

Yet, His
love for us compels Him to make a choice, for love is more than feeling:
not as I will but as you will.”
It is sin that
brought Jesus to the gibbet of the Cross
but it is love which held Him there
for three long hours, gasping and writhing.

The One who
created all things and in whom rests power over life and death
is now bound in chains, scourged
beyond recognition and nailed to a tree.
His flesh
is torn asunder and pierced, His body throbs with pain,
and His heart is broken as His friends
betray, deny and abandon Him.
humanity ever beheld a more pathetic sight?
Any why? –
because He made a choice – a choice to love!
sacrifice of Christ in embracing the death-bed of the Cross
created a ripple effect of power and
that has continued to cascade
through human experience
for nearly two
The historic
event on Calvary has become an eternal fountain of grace.
dying and rising has changed everything,
for in Him we are given a model of
humanity perfected
and the source of eternal

As we adore
the Cross tonight,
we honor the instrument of torture in
the Roman Legionnaires’ game of dice
that has become the
instrument of our salvation.
The game of
brutality and the evil of injustice is vanquished by the Lord of love!

The choices
of our lives have consequences and create ripple effects as well –
for good or for evil.
Like a
stone thrown into a lake,
creating ripples great and small,
above and below the surface,
every human choice has
effects far beyond what we can see.
Our choice
to sin laid the burden of the Cross on the Son of God.
His choice
to love ended the reign of sin and opened the door to new life.

If we gossip,
bully, cheat, lie, swear, abuse, destroy or act impurely,
we create ripple effects of hurt and
enduring wounds of heartache.
But if we
love, heal, pray, build up, give life and respect human dignity,
we create powerful ripple effects of
goodness beyond our imagination.

Christ accepted
the condemnation of sinners and chose love above all else,
thus offering the gift of life to all.

In our
choices and in our words and deeds, may
love always triumph,
so Christ’s love will live on us and
in our world.

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