Jesus went out and said to [the soldiers], “Whom are you looking for?” They answered him, “Jesus the Nazorean.” He said to them, “I AM.”
You’re worth it. A few weeks back, I received a text from a College student who is totally disgusted by the drunken frenzies and sex parties that go on on campus. She wrote: “I’ve given up on mankind!” I wrote back and said, “I can’t! That’s my purpose in life!”
Why did God come down from Heaven? Why did He preach to us, walk with us, heal us, suffer and die for us? What exactly did he need to prove to us? The answer should be obvious. He still loved us and wants to share His life with us. He truly (and deeply) wants us to know that we are worth all the pain and suffering that goes with our relationship.
Good Friday. Out of all the days to call “good,” how could this be one of them? Imagine for a moment if what happened to the Lord should ever happen to you, would you want the world to call this day a good day? It depends. It all depends on whether or not I suffered and died out of love or out of selfishness? Exactly. This is the first lesson of the Cross. To suffer for what is right, good and holy is worth all the pain and glory.
This morning I heard a shocking Good Friday story. A very close friend of mine told me how her father’s maid, a devout Roman Catholic, would wake her children up and spank them on this day. The reason for it was so that they would know (and I guess never forget) what Christ went through for them. I couldn’t believe my ears! I asked my dear friend if this lady also washed her children’s feet on Holy Thursday.
Well, I thoroughly disagree with her lesson plan. If anything, I would have insisted on my children attending the Church’s Good Friday service. There’s much more meaning in this than in a good spanking.
I am with you always. Life is strewn with many beatings. It is full of disappointing moments. So it’s all the more important that we handle them the same way our Lord handled them: with the Father. The Lord demanded that if we wished to come after Him, then we must pick up and carry our cross. In other words, life is not about avoiding at all cost pain and suffering. It’s not even about taking pleasure in it (being a pseudo masochist). It’s about “man-handling” it through Him who gives me strength! Christ is the only reason and purpose that makes any life worth living. After all, He is the only person in the world that could have taken the Cross – a symbol of torture and pain – and turned it into the universal symbol of hope and love.
A big part of life is converting burdens into blessings.
Therefore, is there something still hidden in Christ’s Cross? Or is it an open and shut case in failure. Is there something beyond the obvious, the human eye or “I”? Well, like so many things in life, we find a deeper meaning, a higher calling, only after further reflection.
The Cross and I. The Cross is a poignant reminder of what sacrificing for others can do to us: it crosses us out. The Cross crosses out the “I.” Hence, every single time we sacrifice ourselves for others, we give a little bit more of our selfishness away and replace it with Christ. As St. Paul writes, "I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live in me but Christ who lives in me" (Gal 2:20).
The Cross and Christ. What exactly did the Lord carry on this Friday? Was it simply a wooden beam? No. It was me. It was us. On that awful Friday, the Lord made a covenant with humanity. He took us. He carried us. And he nailed himself to us. This is a poetic reminder for each and every one of us of what the Lord will never do to us: He will never let go of us. "He loved His own till the end." God nailed himself to us. No matter what you do, no matter what you say, I will never stop loving you. Thank God! TGIF!!!
Till death do we reunite!
Resolution: Pick up your Cross, like the Lord, and follow Him.