April 14, 2017

Good Fri

April 14, 2017:  Good Friday of the Lord's Passion

See 2 dozen connections with today?Legend below
Listen

From Part 2 of Messiah/ Handel (1st reading)
For Psalm 31
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From Ed Bolduc's blog

Pope Francis at the Via Crucis
O Christ!  Abandoned and betrayed even by your own, judged by sinners, handed over by those in authority, suffering, crowned with thorns, beaten and nailed to the cross in pain, pierced by the lance that broke your heart, dead and buried, you are the God of life.  O Christ our Savior, we return to you with eyes lowered in shame and hearts of hope:
Shame for the devastation and destruction that have become part of our lives, for the innocent blood people have shed because of their skin color, social diversity, or faith, for the times we've sold and betrayed you and left you to die for our sins, for our silence before injustices, for laziness in giving and greediness in grabbing, for our strong defense of our interests and the weak defense of others', for our speed in following the path of evil and paralysis in following the path of good, for the times we've caused scandal and pain to your body, the Church, for forgetting our first love....
But we also feel hope that you'll treat us with mercy, that our betrayals don't diminish your love, that your maternal and paternal heart will remember us, that our names are etched in your heart and we're reflected in your eyes, that your Cross may transform our hearts into hearts of flesh that can dream, forgive, and love and transform the dark night of your cross into the dawn of your Resurrection, that your faithfulness isn't based on ours, that those faithful to your Cross may remain faithful, that your Church will be the voice that cries for humanity and prepares for your return, that good will be victorious despite its apparent defeat!
O Lord Jesus, innocent victim of our ransom, before you we kneel in shame and with hope.  Bathe us in the blood and water that flowed from your heart; forgive our sins and our guilt.  Remember those destroyed by violence, indifference and war.  Break the chains that keep us imprisoned in selfishness, blindness, and vanity.  Teach us to worship your Cross, because with it you've shown us the horror of our sins, the greatness of your love, the injustice of our decisions, and the power of your mercy.
Papal preacher Fr. Cantalamessa's Good Friday sermon:  The Cross, the world's only hope
Among all today's violent deaths, why do we recall this one from over 2,000 years ago?  Because Jesus' death changed the face of death and gave it new meaning.  “A soldier pierced Jesus' side, and at once blood and water flowed out.”  Long before, when some asked him about his authority, Jesus answered, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I'll raise it up”; “he was speaking of the temple of his body.”  The blood and water flowing from the side of this “destroyed” temple alludes to Ezekiel's prophecy about a future temple around which every form of life flourished.
“Between the throne and the four creatures and among the elders, I saw a Lamb standing, as though it had been slain”:  slain, but standing; pierced but risen and alive.  There exists now, within the Trinity and in the world, a beating heart.  If Christ has been raised, then so has his heart.  If the Lamb is alive, so too his heart, pierced but living—pierced eternally because he lives eternally.
“Heart of darkness” describes the evil that can accumulate in humanity.  After Christ's sacrifice, a heart of light beats in the world more intensely than than that heart.  In ascending, Christ didn't abandon earth, just as he didn't abandon the Trinity in taking flesh.  “The Father's plan was fulfilled in making Christ the heart of the world” explains the Christian optimism that led Julian of Norwich to exclaim “all shall be well.”  The Carthusian coat of arms is a globe surmounted by a cross with writing, “Stat crux dum volvitur orbis” (“The Cross stands as the world turns”).
The Cross is God's “no” to violence, injustice, hate, lies, all evil, and “yes” to love, truth, and goodness.  No to sin, yes to sinners.  Jesus consecrated with his death what he practiced all his life.  Sinners, creatures of God, preserve their dignity, while sin is a spurious reality resulting from passions and “the devil’s envy”; it's the reason the Word assumed everything human except sin.  No one should give up hope, saying “My sin is too great to be forgiven” like Cain.  The cross "stands" for, not against, the world, giving meaning to all human suffering.  “God sent the Son to save the world, not condemn it."  The cross proclaims that victory belongs to the one who triumphs over self, not over others, to the one who suffers, not who causes suffering.
Christ of Saint John of the Cross/ Dalí
“Dum volvitur orbis,” as the world turns.  We speak of ages of history (stone age, imperial age, atomic age...), but 'transition' doesn't describe our current situation; we must add 'dissolution.'  They say ours is a “liquid society” with no fixed points, undisputed values, or rock to cling to or collide with.  It's not that “where God is born, man dies” (Sartre), but where God dies, man dies.
Dalí  painted a crucifix that seems a prophecy of this:  an immense cross with an immense Christ with head tilted down and water below; the Crucified is suspended between heaven and the liquid element of earth.  This tragic image also consoles us:  there's hope even for our liquid society, because above it the cross of Christ stands.  We proclaim in today's liturgy, “O crux, ave spes unica” (“Hail, O Cross, our only hope”)(Fortunato).
God died in his Son, but he was raised. “You crucified and killed him, but God raised him up.”  He “died but is now alive forever.”  The cross doesn't “stand” motionless in the midst of the world’s upheavals as a symbol or reminder; it's an ongoing, living reality.
But we can't stop at analysis of society; Christ came to change people, not explain things.  The heart of darkness is not only that of some evil person or society; it's in each of us.  It's the "heart of stone":  “I'll take out your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.”  A heart of stone is one closed to God’s will and others' suffering, one indifferent to the person who doesn't have water to give to their child, one dominated by impure passion and ready to lead a double life.  If we live for ourselves and not the Lord, this describes us!
When Christ died, the temple curtain tore in two, earth shook, rocks split, tombs opened, and saints' bodies were raised.”  These signs are generally considered apocalyptic and symbolic, but they're also parenetic, indicating what should happen in one who meditates on the Passion.  “Earth—our earthly nature—should tremble at the suffering of its Redeemer.  Rocks—unbelievers' hearts—should burst.  The dead, imprisoned in the tombs of their mortality, should come forth, the massive stones now ripped apart.” (Leo the Great).
The heart of flesh that God promised is now present; it's the heart of Christ pierced on the cross, the “Sacred Heart.”  In receiving the Eucharist we believe his heart comes to beat in us too.  As we gaze on the cross, let us say “God, be merciful to me a sinner!” and be justified.
Read
  • Is 52:13-53:12  My servant shall be exalted.  There was no appearance to attract us to him, so marred was his look.  He was spurned and avoided, a man of suffering, but he bore our infirmities and sufferings.  By his stripes we were healed.  We had gone astray, but the Lord laid our guilt upon him.  He submitted like a lamb led to slaughter.  He was taken away, cut off from the land of the living, buried with evildoers though he had done no wrong.  God's will shall be accomplished through him.  He shall take away the sins of many and win pardon for their offenses.
    We adore you, O Christ, and we praise you,
    for by your holy cross you redeemed the world
    (Animate)
  • Ps 31:2, 6, 12-13, 15-16, 17, 25  "Father, into your hands I commend my spirit."  I'm a laughingstock, forgotten, broken; people flee from me.  But I trust you, Lord; rescue me from my enemies.  You will redeem me.
  • Heb 4:14-16; 5:7-9  Our great high priest, Jesus, Son of God, can sympathize with our weaknesses; he was tested in every way.  Approach the throne; receive mercy, grace, and help.  Jesus offered prayers to the one who could save him and was heard.  He learned obedience from suffering, then became the source of salvation.
Reflect
    • "I thirst":  Sr. Kathleen Bryant RSC's Good Friday meditation.  How will I respond?
      • Creighton:  To try to understand the Lord’s passion and death, we need to go to Gethsemane, where Jesus clearly expresses his reluctance to enter what he anticipates is ahead. "Isn't there another way?  Yet: not what I want, but what You want."  He remained faithful to his Father.  Neither he nor his Father named the cost; his adversaries did, but he was willing to pay it.  Jesus’ faithfulness gave meaning to what followed.  We need to look at the passion from inside his heart.  We need to accompany Jesus and ask, What was going through your heart?  That will help us grow in solidarity with him...
        Jesus the Homeless, crucified/ Schmalz
      • One Bread, One Body:  "He died for me":   Jesus died for my sins.  In the face of such sacrificial, redeeming, committed, unconditional love, I've reacted selfishly and sinfully toward the One who gave his life for me, instead of responding with trusting abandon.  Yet he shined his face on me and saved me in his love, dying for me before I repented.  He came to earth and sympathized with my weaknesses, so I could feel confident in approaching him for forgiveness.  No wonder the Church calls today "Good Friday."
      • Passionist:  Today we stand together at the foot of the Cross to feel and experience the love only the crucified Jesus can bring us.  We live the intimacy of a relationship founded in the truth only he can bestow.  We're here with the “good thief,” the one crucified with Jesus whom Jesus assured a place in paradise.  We're here as sinners assured of how much God loves us.  We're here with Mary and John as Jesus entrusts them with the loving care of each other.  Jesus asks us to care for each other; his arms are extended as he entrusts us to include everyone in our loving community.  We're here with the centurion who recognized God's presence in Jesus' death.  We're present as Jesus extends love to a world longing for God's embrace....
      • DailyScripture.net:  "It is finished":  The cross brings us face to face with Jesus' suffering.  He was alone, deserted by his disciples, and suffered an agonizing and humiliating death, crucified for his claim to be King.  The Jews wanted a king to free them from foreign domination; they didn't understand Jesus came to conquer hearts for an imperishable kingdom.  "It is finished!" expresses triumph, not defeat.  Jesus gave up his spirit knowing the battle was won. "As [those at the cross] were looking on, so too we gaze on his wounds, see his blood as he dies, see the price he offered, touch the scars of his resurrection.  He bows his head, as if to kiss you.  His heart is bared in love to you, his arms extended to embrace you, his body displayed for your redemption.  How great these things!  Weigh them in your mind:  as he was once fixed to the cross in every part of his body for you, so may he now be fixed in every part of your soul" (Augustine).  In the cross we see Jesus' triumph over sin, Satan, and death. 
      Ecce Homo/ Mostaert
      "God hung from a cross, the sun was made dark then flamed out; creation mourned with its creator.  The temple veil rent, blood and water flowed from his side: the one as from a man, the other as from what was above man; earth shaken, rocks shattered, the dead risen to bear witness to the Resurrection.  Yet nothing that happened can compare to the miracle of my salvation.  Drops of blood renew the world and bind us together" (Gregory Nazianzen, paraphrased).
      "The cross is the door to heaven, the key to paradise, the devil's downfall, our uplifting, the consolation of our imprisonment, the prize for our freedom"  (Rupert of Deutz)  The cross is the safeguard of our faith, the assurance of our hope, the throne of love, the sign of God's mercy, and the proof of forgiveness; by it Christ pardoned us and freed us from sin. The cross is the way to peace, joy, justice, and victory over sin, corruption, fear, defeat, despair, and death.
      Dress legend
      • Red striped shirt:  "By his stripes we were healed" (1st reading); color of day
      • 'Pierced hearts' suspenders:  He was pierced for our offenses (1st reading); Jesus' love to the end
      • 'Sheep', 'lamb' tie bars:  "We had all gone astray like sheep"; "Like a lamb led to slaughter or a sheep before shearers, he was silent" (1st reading)
      • 'Hands' pin:  "Into your hands I commend my spirit" (psalm); Jesus 'handed' over his spirit (gospel)
      • 'Sword' pin:  Peter drew his sword and cut off high priest slave's ear (gospel)
      • 'Rooster' pin:  The cock crowed after Peter's denials (gospel)
      • 'Stone' tie pin:  "Pilate seated Jesus at the place called Stone Pavement, Gabbatha"; Golgotha ("Stone Pavement") (gospel)
      • 'Street light' tie bar, 'gun' pin:  Because of his affliction, he shall see the light (1st reading); Judas approached Jesus with soldiers with lanterns, torches, and weapons (gospel)
      • 'Eyeball' pin:  An eyewitness has testified, and his testimony is true (gospel)
      • Tie with crowns:  "Are you the King of the Jews?"; "My kingdom does not belong to this world"; they placed a crown of thorns; inscription "Jesus the Nazorean, King of the Jews" (gospel)
      • 'Playing card' tie bar:  They cast lots for his clothes (gospel)
      • '?' tie pin:  Questions to Peter, Jews, and Jesus from soldiers, gatekeeper, slaves/guards, Annas, Caiaphas, and Pilate (gospel)
      • 'Wood' tie pin:  wood of the cross (gospel)
      • 'Mary' pin:  Mary stood by the cross; “Woman, behold, your son.” / “Behold, your mother.” (gospel)
      • 'Blood drop' pin:  Blood and water flowed from Jesus' side (gospel)
      • 'Crucifix' pin:  "Crucify him!"