Friday, April 2, 2010

Good Friday: Christ is Humiliated and Crucified

Good Friday: When Christ is Humiliated and Crucified
Readings: Isaiah 52:13-53; Psalm 31; Hebrews 4:14-15, 5:7-9; John 18:1-19, 42

A man of suffering, mocked, humiliated, hated, spat upon, scourged with a whip,
Endured untold suffering, pierced for our offenses, nailed to a Cross,
And all because of my sins, because I betrayed Him,
Like Peter, I denied ever knowing him, run away when He needed
My presence as Christ died on that Cross.

"Were you there when they crucified my Lord;
Were you there when they nailed Him to the Cross?"
Lord, you know me; how could I disown You?
Yes, we were there;
The whole human race was there;
Do you not see your face there in the crowd? Yes, you were there.

When prisoners are humiliated, tortured, stripped naked;
Christ is humiliated;
When we run away from being involved in supporting the poor,
We run away from Christ. Christ is neglected.
When we keep quiet before injustice, unjust crimes,
Afraid to speak up or afraid to be involved,
Christ suffers injustice.

We were lost and unable to find the way back.
We were condemned to death and could not save ourselves;
About to die and Christ offered to take our place.
Christ bore the weight of our sins on the way of the Cross;
Falling under the Cross three times, but never gave up.
Christ died in our place, to save us.

In 1941, Father Maximilian Kolbe a Polish Franciscan Friar was captured by the Nazi and put in the Auschwitz death camp. While there he offered his life for another prisoner - Francis and was condemned to a slow death in a starvation bunker. His impatient captors ended his life with a lethal injection. I once read about a church that throughout Lent places a big Cross outside on the grounds, and that Cross is used on Good Friday celebration. On Ash Wednesday, parishioners of that church are given nails and asked to keep them through the Lenten Season. On Good Friday, after the reading of the passion, in the place of the homily, each comes forward and with a hammer put the nail on the cross, and then venerates it.

Were you there when they nailed Him to the Cross?
Oh, yes, you were, with a hammer and nails in your hand!
Lord Jesus, give me the strength to admit my guilt and to help you carry your Cross today. Help me to see beyond the Cross to your triumph over sin and death in your resurection.

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