Father, into your hands I commend my spirit. (Lk 23:46)
Last night at midnight I knelt in front of the Tabernacle, opened the doors and took our Lord into my hands. As I walked the short distance from the chapel to the sacristy I thought of the words, “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.” How humbling it is for me to have been called to be a priest, to have Christ so near and so present in my life. And then I thought how humiliating it is for God to have called someone like me!
Today, on Holy Friday, Christ is no longer among us. The excitement of Palm Sunday has not died down, it has died. We have all been put to shame! We have crucified our Savior! I do not care what anyone says, “It had to happen in order to fulfill the prophecies.” Nonsense! The prophecies were written because they had already been set in our stony hearts and minds. Yes, how could we turn back? How could we ever admit our mistake? The rebel never surrenders; he kills or is killed! Once our eyes and ears rebelled against the Creator, it was just a matter of time before the rebellion would turn to our tongues and hands; and it all turned vicious and bloody!
The Lord knew, from the very beginning, what would happen; what our independent and free willed choices would be. He knew the consequences that would follow. We will never be able to escape the reality that we alone crucified our Lord and God. Time has not healed the wound; On the contrary, it has caused the wound to fester and become grotesque. We are just as responsible for the murder of our Lord as those famous names recorded in Scripture. We have filled pages and pages of history with bloody murder! All history! All murders, except the Lord’s murder. We refuse to acknowledge, en masse, the greatest evil ever committed and so the horrible consequences of that murder continue to this day. No matter how hard we try, we cannot escape the reality that the Lord chose to descend from Heaven and be our Lamb.
How lonely the world is today. There is nowhere to go and nothing to look forward to. Today, the priests are all dead. There is no one that can forgive my sins or show mercy or compassion. There is no one I can trust; no one I can open my heart to. Everything has suddenly turned sour and bitter. The colors of life have been swept away and replaced with dullness. Our daily burdens have become unbearable. How crazy it is. How crazy it all is! I seek a Church, a place where I can worship, but all the churches feel cold and empty, for indeed they are. There is no Eucharist, no Christ to adore. There are no priests, no ministers, no one to reach out to. Today, not a single Church throughout the world has Christ! The Catholic Churches are joined together with their separated brethren in having no Christ, no Eucharist, no adoration. “What after all are these churches now if they are not the tombs and sepulchers of God?” (Nietzsche, The Gay Science)
We have killed God – you and I. All of us are his murderers…God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him.” (Nietzsche, The Gay Science) What is scary about all of this is that it is no exaggeration.
Some say everyday is crucifixion and resurrection. Maybe, but not so fast! Today is just crucifixion, The Crucifixion that scarred the world for life and made all other scars possible. If I can kill God, then I can capable of killing my own child, my best friend, my neighbor.
Where you there when they crucified my Lord? Yes, I was. And mostly likely I was the soldier that nailed the Lord to the Cross, or the thief that could have been forgiven but refused to seek it, or a bystander that did nothing to stop (or at least ease) the pain of my Lord and God.
Today, do not be afraid to reflect on the Lord's Passion. It will make Easter Sunday even more meaningful!