Deacon Anthony Cincotta
The Celebration of the Passion of the Lord
Book of the Prophet Isaiah 52:13, 53:12, Psalm 31,
Letter to the Hebrews 4:14-16, 5:7-9, & John 18:1-19:42
Christ Bearing the Cross by Bartolomé E. Murillo, circa 1665, in the permanent collection at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
This Friday, we call “Good” because we remember how much God loves us today, and we celebrate the Passion of Jesus for us. How can we possibly celebrate the suffering of anyone, let alone Jesus? Because Jesus suffered our suffering. The suffering and death of Jesus is God’s entry into all we suffer, including death itself. Jesus not only knows and understands because He is also with us in our suffering and death. His Passion, death, and resurrection transform ours. Today, we celebrate how His suffering was that of a servant, for it was through what He endured that we are set free from the power of our sin and the finality of death.
I believe that there can be an incredible intimacy in today’s reflection. As we “behold the wood of the cross, on which hung the Savior of the world,” we can venerate, and thereby embrace, the entire mystery of love that the cross represents, and then stand at the foot of the cross and realize that we are in solidarity with everyone else. We can truly understand that we are incredibly loved and forgiven through the sacrament of Reconciliation.
I feel the solemness of this day. It is about a past event, but it is made quite real today by reflecting upon it. Today, we feel the deep feelings that well up inside of us when we open our hearts to the death of one of our loved ones. When we open our emotions to receive the gift of Jesus’ sacrifice that we might be free from what enslaves and terrifies us, the overall feeling that grows in strength within us is eternal gratitude. Then, it feels like a very Good Friday indeed.
Questions of the Day: In these final hours of Lent, what is it that you heard whispered to your heart these past few weeks? What tender, loving, caressing words were meant only for you? What is your response?
Prayer: “Christ became obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Because of this, God greatly exalted Him and bestowed on Him the name which is above every other name.”