Friday, April 06, 2012

“The mockery continues. It becomes almost a ritual. They divide his clothing. They scoff at him and call on him to save himself. They offer him sour wine to provoke him. They even use, unknowingly to themselves, the truth to mock him: they place an inscription on the Cross which reads “This is the King of the Jews”.
The innocent, just, sensitive Jesus is exposed to mockery as the business of putting him to death goes on in its sordid normality. Soon the spectacle will be over, the job will be done, the killing-squad will return to the city, to home and family. It all has to be done quickly because the Passover is near and respectable people do not like distasteful spectacles to spoil their religious feasts.

But it ends in a different way. The sordid routine turns dark. Darkness descends on the scene. For those charged with killing Jesus this must have been just another inconvenience. But think of the faithful ones: Mary his Mother, the distraught disciples who watch at a distance, the Nicodemuses and Josephs of Arimathea who had come to him by night and begun to have hope in him. Is this darkness the end of hope?

Think of Jesus. His words are few. He is exhausted and in pain. Two words however remain: a word of mercy to the criminal who repents; a word of fidelity, handing himself to his Father, his mission completed.

Lord we live in a world filled with words. Perhaps never in history have there been so many words: spoken, printed, electronically stored or moving invisibly. Help us to realise that few words are necessary. Empty words foster empty hearts. There are realities which do not need words. Give us Lord the words to ask for forgiveness, the words which touch those things in our hearts we would not want anyone to hear, but things that keep us entrapped in sinfulness and isolation. Give us words to forgive, to be generous and loving.Open our heart in mercy to those who long for freedom. Keep us faithful like Jesus to what we are called to, to what is most noble and good in our lives.

In a world where everything has a shelf-life and what we dislike can be quickly discarded, help us to learn that singular characteristic of God: being faithful. The events of Good Friday realise something that has been spoken of throughout the history of God’s encounter with his people. God remains faithful to his people, even when his people generation after generation fail him and fail him and betray him and betray him.

True goodness is not a passing emotion. It is not about feeling good. It is about being faithful to goodness when it is easy, when it is challenging, and even when it leads to our annihilation in the eyes of those who seek their only own interest.

Jesus dies. He breathes his last and that last is the same as the first words recorded about Jesus: “I must be about my Father’s business”; “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit”.

Jesus humbles himself, he empties himself, and his love is so great that he empties himself even unto death, death on the Cross. But the Cross triumphs. His self-giving love is so complete that it brings new life, true live.

Lord, help us to reject everything that is trivial and superficial. Give us the love that Jesus showed on the Cross: love that endures and that saves.
--Diarmuid Martin
Archbishop of Dublin
The Way of the Cross
The Phoenix Park, Dublin
6 April 2012