TOWARD A HOMILY FOR GOOD FRIDAY
Categories: Father Fay's Section
A major portion of the Church’s Good Friday Liturgy is the word of God. Hopefully you have read it again, Old Testament and New. We listen to God speak in a changed world. He providentially speaks to us through the many kinds of people affected by what is happening. They are also the word of God to us — brothers and sisters in Christ. So let us put these two together. I will give you a start with examples of how they are listening to the word of God on this day. Remember there is a link to the Good Friday scriptures on this home page on the left, below the Tweet. What they hear in their need can also be advantage to us as we apply the readings to our own lives and give a Good Friday response to the God who speaks to us.
First comes to mind are families grieving love ones who have died in the pandemic. Jesus bowing his head, he handed over the spirit. And the psalm prayer: Father, into your hands I commend my spirit. This makes the family death so personal.
Doctors, nurses, medical personnel, and first responders are in the midst of this. Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus came to the rescue of Jesus’ family when Jesus died. From the psalm: Take courage and be stouthearted, all you who hope in the LORD. They provide hope. When the soldier thrust his lance into Jesus’ side blood and water flowed out — something medical personnel know well.
We have seen a lot of government officials on TV. They, too, are affected, especially when the passages about Pilate are read. My kingdom does not belong to this world. Or when Pilate said: Take him yourselves, and judge him according to your law. They are setting down laws for the people. Or when Jesus said to Pilate: You would have no power over me if it had not been given to you from above. They sensed their own responsibility before God.
For those confined to the house it is a comfort to hear Jesus ask John to welcome his mother into his home. And from that hour the disciple took her into his home. Jesus promised to be with us — he did not specify in what places, it means everywhere.
School students might find their own condition mirrored in the Servant Song: Son though he was, he learned obedience from what he suffered.
What about us? But the LORD was pleased to crush him in infirmity from Isaiah. It is the Lord’s will. We please him by uniting ourselves to the crucified and risen Lord. From the same passage: See, my servant shall prosper, he shall be raised high and greatly exalted. The outcome of what is happening will be a reward from God. There lies the hope. The psalmist wrote for us as well: Take courage and be stouthearted, all you who hope in the LORD. I cannot forget Jesus words earlier: Go and learn the meaning of the words, ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice. I did not come to call the righteous but sinners (Matthew 9:13). Jesus is citing Hosea 6:6. It may seem that our sacrifice has been taken away (for a while). I believe it is becoming more clear that what is the source of a sacrifice pleasing to God is the covenant love of Jesus Christ which we are being called to stir up at home through the word of God and our response to it. He has not taken the faith from us. Rather he is deepening that faith by challenging us at home to love him more from our hearts day in and day out and bring that back with us when we are able to return to Mass. This is the secret blessing of God.