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.

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Good Friday Homily

Homily Good Friday 2013


As we journey through the uncertainty and brokenness of our human experience

          all of us at one time or another encounter the pain of loneliness:

          the loneliness that follows the death of a loved one

          the loneliness of separation from those we depend on

          the loneliness of abandonment, of insult, of betrayal

          the loneliness of feeling unheard and unappreciated

          even the loneliness of feeling our prayers are unanswered by God.


Today we come to Calvary: a place of total loneliness and emptiness.


It is God’s will that the story of Jesus should come to this,

          as Saint Paul writes to the Philippians:

          Jesus emptied Himself in becoming man

and further humbled Himself in obediently accepting death on the Cross.


While everything is taken from Jesus,

it is Jesus Himself who freely lays it all down

for the salvation of the world and to liberate us from slavery to sin.


The self-abasement of Christ is integral to God’s plan,

          for He wills His Son to undergo the depraved darkness caused by our sins.


In His Passion, Jesus experiences in internal tempest of emotions  

as foreboding as the storm that rolls in upon His last breath.


On Thursday night, at the Last Supper,

          Jesus’ heartfelt sharing of Himself in the Eucharist

          and stooping to lovingly wash the feet of His disciples

          is met with blank stares, questioning, objections,

as if they never understood Him at all.


In the Garden, the three closest collaborators fall asleep

when Jesus asks them to pray with Him.


Judas has sold the Son of God for thirty pieces of silver.


Outside the High Priest’s house, in the courtyard,

          Peter denies even knowing Jesus, despite his unique role as the first pope.


The Apostles scatter in fear and hide behind locked doors.


The crowds who welcomed Jesus with Hosannas on Sunday

          now turn on Him and demand of Pilate His death by crucifixion.


He is rejected by His own people, even though He has always been a faithful Jew.


No doubt He must have wondered if His name would be remembered

          ten minutes after He has died. 


On the Cross only Mary and John care to remain with Him.


There is no relief from the unspeakable pain and brutality of Jesus’ execution.

Flesh pierced and torn apart, blood spurting, bruises and lacerations,

          bloody wounds filling up with dirt as He falls again and again,

          the crushing weight of the Cross,

          the cruelty of the guards and the crowds.


Gasping for breath, His nerves pulsating with fierce pain,

He cries out in agony even wondering if even His Father has abandoned Him.


He breathes His last on the deathbed of the Cross.


After He is buried, Jesus descends into the netherworld,

          lower than the lowest sinner,

to offer to those who died before the advent of the Messiah

the opportunity of salvation.


There, He experiences further loneliness, the emptiness of the damned.


There is no darkness which Christ will not embrace for the salvation of humanity.


Jesus is alone.  No one cares.  No one appreciates what He has done for us.


Abandoned, betrayed, rejected, hurt and reeling from injuries:

          Jesus takes it all, every pain humanity can incur,

all at once, in His own Body.


This is the loneliness we sometimes feel: abandoned, empty, hurt, rejected.


All the work we do and all the endeavors we undertake

seem defeated and meaningless if we do them alone,

          if no one walks with us in our life’s journey.


No matter what we do, it’s not good enough.  Jesus knew that feeling.


In our darkest emotional experiences, we are one with Christ

          and close enough to Him to feel the salve of  His love.


The story does not end in loneliness or in death or in darkness.


Even in the last moments of Jesus’ earthly life, there are glimmers of light.


From the pulpit of the Cross, Jesus preaches forgiveness for those who hurt us

          and leave us lonely and abandoned. 


Forgive them, Father.


The Centurion acknowledges He is the Son of God.


Psalm 22 begins with the question of abandonment

but ends in hope for God’s people.


We are one with the lonely Christ.  He suffered what we suffer.


In our darkest moment, we are understood and appreciated, if by no one else,

          by Jesus our Savior and Friend.


We have the assurance that ultimately we are not alone. 

Jesus promised to be with us in all our trials and sorrows.

This is the greatest consolation: to be understood and loved by Jesus.


God also sends us rare cherished friends, friends who do not abandon us,

          friends who reveal the love of God and remind us we are loved.


In our loneliness, we further have hope in the promised glory of heaven,

          made available to us by the suffering and rising of Jesus. 


There is a splendid future in store

in which we shall rejoice in the company of the saints forever,

amid all our friends in faith.


This is the moment of the great sacrifice of Christ,

          the moment of the outpouring of God’s mercy for the healing of our souls.


Embraced by His divine love, we journey through live without fear of abandonment

          for Christ is forever by our side. 

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