GOOD FRIDAY OF THE PASSION OF THE LORD YEAR C
Theme: The Man on the Cross
By: Fr. Cyril Unachukwu CCE
Homily: The Liturgy of Good Friday is one that often comes with mixed feelings, bringing us to think of how it all happened; the betrayal, the false accusations, the denials, the abandonment by those who were His closest friends and family, the floggings and bruises, the heavy cross He had to carry, the long hilly and rough distance He had to walk carrying the heavy cross, the falls on that rocky road, the crucifixion on the cross and death. Just like a drama it unfolded and before they could understand what was happening He uttered those last words we heard in the Passion Narrative of today (John 18:1-19:42) with which He signalled and signed the success of His mission; “it is accomplished.” It was at this point that the true identity of the man hanging on the cross began to unveil itself to them and the Centurion standing could not hold it but exclaimed; “truly this was the Son of God!” (Mt 27:54). Yes! He is truly the Son of God and taking unto Himself the nature of man, He accomplished once and for all that which all men and women are in need of but cannot offer to themselves. He accomplished our liberation from the clutches of sin and shame! He accomplished our victory over the ancient serpent who is the deceiver and seducer of our first parents Adam and Eve, the accuser of our brethren, the tempter of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, the opposer of our common Father in Heaven and the common enemy of our family as sons and daughters of God.
The experience and mission of our Lord Jesus Christ up to the cross was a unique and irreplaceable one and is the one fount of all the graces and blessings we need to be saved. It was foretold by all of the prophets. In the First Reading (Is 52:13-53:12) we read part of the prophecies in which God informed us long ago of the coming of His Son in the form of a suffering Servant; “for they shall see something never told and witness something never heard before … a man of sorrows and familiar with suffering … And yet ours were the sufferings He bore, ours the sorrows he carried … On him lies a punishment that brings us peace, and through his wounds we are healed.” In these prophetic words from the Prophet Isaiah we see a perfect description of the suffering of our Lord Jesus Christ, of the moment we are celebrating today. In Jesus Christ we see the Supreme High Priest who is not only the High Priest but also the victim for the sacrifice that takes away the sin of the world. He willingly offered Himself in obedience to the Father for “although He was Son, He learnt to obey through suffering; but having been made perfect, He became for who all obey Him the source of eternal salvation” (Heb 4:14-16, 5:7-9). Through His obedience, He destroyed once and for all the barriers which the disobedience of our first parents brought upon us and restored our access to God our Heavenly Father and to Heaven our true homeland and also opened upon us all the gate to eternal salvation. This actually is the good thing about this Friday; that through His suffering we have been freed and can now enjoy in full the freedom of the children of God because He paid our debts in full.
Our true response to this great mystery of our Lord’s passion and death is to obey He Who was obedient to the Father. The voice of the devil is the voice of disobedience! He not only disobeyed God but he also deceived our first parents Adam and Eve to disobey Him. He does not stop at that, he continues to tempt us every day to destroy our relationship with God. In Christ we see Him who through His obedience opened for us the path to salvation. Only through our obedience to Him can we successfully walk through that path He opened for us with His blood for “Christ became for all who obey Him the source of eternal salvation”. For this singular reason the voice of God spoke at His baptism in the river Jordan “This is my Son, my Chosen; listen to him!” (Lk 9:35).
“Almighty ever-living God, Who have restored us to life by the blessed Death and Resurrection of your Christ, preserve in us the work of your mercy, that, by partaking of this mystery, we may have a life unceasingly obedient and devoted to You; Amen.” Grace-Filled Celebrations; Fr Cyril CCE