April 19, 2019

Good F

April 19, 2019:  Good Friday of the Lord's Passion

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From Messiah Part 2/ Handel (1st reading)
For Psalm 31
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In honor of our brothers and sisters beginning their Passover celebration tonight, from Jewish a cappella six13:
Sr. Eugenia Bonetti Way of the Cross

Preview:  The meditations are meant to show in a simple way what it means to be a Samaritan today.  Christ is still dying today; women are still trying to wipe his face.  Veronica had the courage to meet him and wipe the sweat and tears from his face.  He asks that from each of us.  When I see young women in danger, I have to help them regain their youth, life, and future, amd dream of a better life.  Christians have a greater responsibility because Christ has taught that nobody is created to be a slave; we've been born to be human beings made in God's image.

We need to change today's "throwaway society" mindset.  We're destroying not only what we use in the common life, but also people.  The dignity of the human person and the beauty of creation are not being respected.  Failure to protect the human person is a crime against humanity.  When you see human trafficking and slavery, you want to break the chain.  Every ring has a name, be it the traffickers, poverty, ignorance.  We should be able to break all the rings so that persons may be free.

Meditations:  
1st station:  Pray that those in positions of power hear the cry of the poor, the homeless, young people, migrants, and children.  Lord, help us love and be sensitive to others' tears, suffering, and pain.  May we recognize children exploited, bought, and sold.  May we acknowledge our responsibility for human trafficking and be part of the solution.


9th station (Jesus falls the 3rd time):  We share the humiliation of girls forced onto the streets by slave traffickers. Our throwaway culture objectifies people and treats them as waste.

10th station (Jesus stripped of his garments) recalls children and young people stripped of their dignity, reduced to being merchandise.  The idols of power and money trick us into believing everything is buyable.

14th station (Jesus placed in the tomb):  Consider today’s “new cemeteries":  deserts and seas where people we couldn't/wouldn't save find their eternal resting place.  May Jesus’ death give world leaders an awareness of their role in defending every person.  May his resurrection give hope, joy, new life, acceptance, and communion to all.

Prayer of Pope Francis:  Lord Jesus, help us to see in your Cross all the world's crosses:  Of those who hunger for bread and love; those alone or abandoned even by children and family; those who thirst for justice and peace; those who don't have the comfort of the faith; the elderly under the weight of years and loneliness; migrants who find closed doors and hearts; little ones wounded in their innocence; humanity wandering in uncertainty and the culture of the fleeting moment; families broken by betrayal, seductions of the evil one, or selfishness; consecrated persons feeling rejected, mocked and humiliated; consecrated persons who have forgotten their first love; your children who find themselves marginalized and discarded; our weakness, hypocrisy, betrayal, sin, and broken promises; your Church struggling to carry your love; the Church who feels attacked from within and without; our common home withering before our eyes blinded by greed and power.  Rekindle in us the hope of the resurrection and your victory against evil and death.  Amen!


Fr. Rainero Cantalamessa homily:  "He was despised and rejected...

...and we esteemed him not" begins today's readings.  The Passion identified Jesus as this man of sorrows.  Today we contemplate the Crucified as prototype and representative of the rejected, disinherited, and “discarded,” from whom we turn aside.  Throughout Jesus' life he was part of this group.  He is born in a stable.  At his presentation, his parents offered the offering prescribed for the poor.  He was homeless.  When he was in the praetoriumsoldiers pressed a crown of thorns to his head, mocked him by putting a cloak on his bloody shoulders, bound his hands, placed a reed in them, an ironic symbol of his royalty.  Tortured, he's the prototype of people at the mercy of soldiers and thugs!  What Pilate exclaimed when he presented him “Behold the man!,” can also be said of the vilified, objectified, those deprived of dignity.  Jesus became the symbol of the humiliated and insulted.  You rejected, spurned, pariahs, the greatest man was one of you!  Claim him as yours.”

In Jesus and the Disinherited, Howard Thurman shows what the figure of Jesus represented for slaves in the south.  Deprived of rights and abject, the words of the gospel gave them a sense of their dignity as God's children.  

Negro Spirituals arose in this context.  Slaves experienced the anguish of seeing wives separated from their husbands and children from parents, sold to different masters.  “Nobody knows the trouble I've seen.  Nobody knows, but Jesus.”

Jesus' passion and death redeemed the world; it brought God's love to the darkest place:  death.  Through the Incarnation, he united himself to all humanity and made himself poor, rejected, and embracing their cause.  Whatever we do, or don't do, for the hungry, naked, incarcerated, outcast, we do, or don't do, to him.  But the gospel also says the Crucified One is risen!  A total role reversal:  the vanquished became the victor; the judged the judge, the rejected stone the cornerstone. Jesus gave hope to the disinherited.  Easter used to be concentrated in one day.  Jesus' death and resurrection weren't commemorated separately; his passage from death to life. Pascha (pesach) means 'passage,' the passage from slavery to freedom, from this world to the Father, from sin to grace.  It's the feast of the reversal, the just, irreversible turnaround of our fate. We can say to the poor, outcasts, those trapped in slavery:  Easter is your feast!


The cross also contains a message of love and salvation for the powerful, strong, comfortable “victors.”  They're bound to the same fate as the rest:  the same laws, human limitations, Death hangs over everyone’s head and warns against the evil illusion of omnipotence.  The mighty will be mightily tested.  We can't abide in pomp.  What does it profit you to gain the world and lose/forfeit yourself?  We must stand with the poor and weak, be the voice for the voiceless.


We must promote peace and also not remain silent when a few privileged people possess more than they could ever consume, while masses of poor people have no bread or water for their children.  No religion can remain indifferent to this because God isn't.


Today's 1st reading concludes with a description of the Servant's exaltation:  He shall see the fruit of his travail and be satisfied.  I will divide him a portion with the great, and he'll divide the spoil with the strong; because he poured out his soul and was numbered with transgressors; yet he bore the sin of many, and interceded for the transgressors.  Let us keep watch and meditate in expectation of this Victor.


Read
    We adore you, O Christ, and we praise you,
    for by your holy cross you redeemed the world
    (Animate)
  • 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.
  • 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
  • Creighton:  An account of creation speaks about two different trees:  of “life” and of “knowledge of good and evil.” Adam sinned in taking on the authority of deciding what's good.  On Good Friday we watch, listen and receive. In today's epistle we reflect on the "old" and "new" Adams.  The “new Adam” consummates a life of listening, the root meaning of 'obedience.'  He arrived in the second garden, faced a tree and swallowed his life-giving death.  The two trees are embraced as one:  the tree of life offers immortality, and the tree of knowledge becomes the tree of life.  What Adam grasped for himself is offered to us.  Jesus' life was an act of hearing who he was called to be, Listener!  He listened to the poor and sick and to invitations, challenges, threats and judgments against him.  Some accepted what they heard and others seemed threatened.  We're like visitors to a sick friend with shallow breathing. We can do little to change things, but we can experience the poverty of love.  Today we express our poverty as we receive Holy Communion outside of Mass.  He is Good to, for, and with us as we say yes to him, his call, and the good of creation.
    Jesus the Homeless, crucified/ Schmalz
  • One Bread, One Body:  "Dying to be loved":  Pilate knew Jesus was innocent so sought to release him, yet Pilate wanted the Jewish leaders to agree.  Perhaps Pilate had Jesus scourged because he thought they'd respond to Jesus' suffering by changing their opposition to him.  When Jesus came out wearing the crown of thorns and cloak, Pilate said to them, "Look!," but his maneuver backfired.  Sometimes we respond to others' sufferings by repenting.  What failed for Pilate, Jesus accomplished with his agony, Passion, and death, knowing some would change their hearts.  How sad that only suffering touches us, but Jesus' love is so great that he met our demands.  The Lord, Love, pours himself out in love, blood, and pain for anyone.  How will I let his suffering affect me:  by loving him or crucifying him?
  • Passionist:  Memoria Pasionis”:  Today, Unconditional Love takes on unbearable suffering, shameless betrayal entraps absolute fidelity, wilful injustice convicts Total Innocence, malicious lies deny Unembellished Truth, deliberate wrongdoing casts Tender Mercy aside, the darkness of evil eclipses Divine Light, Eternal Life experiences undeniable death, a mother's broken heart overwhelms her joy, the Word is buried in silence, and we remember the first Good Friday.  (Clemente Barrón, CP)
  • "I thirst":  Sr. Kathleen Bryant RSC's Good Friday meditation.  How will I respond?

  • 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
  • 'Tree' pin:  He grew up like a sapling (1st reading)
  • 'Car with mouth' pin:  He opened not his mouth (1st reading)
  • 'Bear' tie bar:  Through his suffering, my servant shall 'bear' their guilt (1st reading)
  • Striped tie:  "By his stripes we were healed" (1st reading)
  • '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); "If my kingdom were of this world, my attendants would be fighting to keep me from being handed over; "the one who handed me over has the greater sin"; Jesus 'handed' over his spirit (gospel)
  • 'Boundless mercy' pin:  Approach the throne of grace to receive mercy (2nd reading)
  • Flesh-colored suspenders:  When Christ was in the flesh, he prayed and was heard... (2nd reading)
  • 'Sword' tie bar:  Peter drew his sword and cut off high priest's 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" (gospel)
  • 'Street light' tie bar:  He shall see the light (1st reading); "let your face shine on your servant" (psalm); Judas approached Jesus with soldiers with lanterns,... (gospel)
  • 'Gun' pin:  ...and weapons (gospel)
  • 'Fire' pin:  Slaves, guards, and Peter were warming themselves around a fire (gospel)
  • 'Eyeball' pin:  Those who haven't been told shall see; they will look upon him they pierced (1st reading); eyewitness has testified, and his testimony is true (gospel)
  • 'Crown' tie bar:  Kings shall stand speechless (1st reading); "are you the King of the Jews?"; "My kingdom does not belong to this world"; crown of thorns; inscription "Jesus the Nazorean, King of the Jews" (gospel)
  • 'Playing card' tie bar:  They cast lots for Jesus' tunic (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; “behold your son” / “behold your mother” (gospel)
  • 'Abacus' tie pin:  They 'divided' his clothes (gospel)
  • Purple linen on cross:  Soldiers clothed him in a purple cloak (gospel)
  • 'Blood drop' pin:  Blood flowed from Jesus' side (gospel)
  • 'Crucifix' chain:  "Crucify him!" (gospel)
  • Purple on cross:  They clothed Jesus in a purple cloak (gospel)
  • 'Skeleton' pin:  They broke the others' legs but not Jesus' (gospel)
  • Red shirt:  Liturgical color of today