Good Friday 2020 – Ennis Cathedral – Via Webcam
Video clip of Homily available on the link below
The Passion of St. John
Each year on Good Friday, the Passion of Jesus according to John is read. John’s Gospel was written later than the others, perhaps 70 years after Jesus died, and this gave John time to reflect upon Jesus’ death and highlight a number of aspects that are not as evident in the other Gospels.
Focus in the Gospel of John
Most of John’s account focuses on Jesus’ trial and death sentence. But it is ingeniously written. John describes the trial of Jesus in such a way that, while Jesus is the one being tried, everyone else is on trial except Jesus. Pilate is on trial, Jewish authorities are on trial, Jesus’ apostles and disciples are on trial, the crowds watching are on trial and we too are asked to consider our position.
Emphasis on the Divinity of Jesus
John’s Gospel, emphasises Jesus’ divinity. Jesus, despite being crucified, is always in control. He is unafraid, shows no weaknesses, carries His own cross, dies in serenity and is buried like a king (wrapped in clothes saturated with aromatic oils). John’s Jesus does not need any Simon of Cyrene to carry His cross, nor does He cry out in agony and abandonment. John’s account emphasises that Jesus was sentenced to death at noon, the hour on the eve of Passover when the temple priests would begin to slaughter the paschal lambs. The inference is clear: Jesus is the real lamb who dies for sin.
The Birth of a New Creation
Finally, in John’s account, after Jesus dies, soldiers come and pierce His side with a lance. Immediately blood and water flow. These are incredibly rich images.
Firstly it symbolizes birth. For John, Jesus’ death is the birth of something new, a new creation. It is a primal image: Blood symbolises the flow of life inside us, the gift of life and energy and vibrancy, the great gift we treasure within us.
Water quenches thirst and washes us clean. In the sacrificial death of Jesus on the Cross and as a result of our Lenten efforts and penitence and seeking forgiveness – we are washed clean in the blood of Jesus who died for us on this day.
The Horror of the Cross
Although John emphasises Jesus’ divinity, we must not forget that the cross was a device of great cruelty. It was a sight from which even the strongest turned their eyes. Yet today, on Good Friday, we deliberately turn our eyes toward the cross of Jesus.
A good Friday?
Despite the logic of our theology and knowing what it means, my heart always rebels against the term Good Friday. How could such a day of torture and excruciating suffering be Good. In our Irish Tradition today is Aoine an Chéasta. The Friday of the Murder. Not on the face of it a good Friday, surely? A colleague of mine during the week so rightly informed me that the meaning of the word excruciating comes from the pain of Jesus, from the Cross. This day we remain in solidarity with Jesus on the Cross in His pain.
The Cross in a year of Corona Virus
For so many this year, because of the immense fall-out of the Corona Virus the Cross has become so real for us. For many of us the Cross looms higher in our minds eye than ever before, because of the losses, pain, isolation, loneliness, upheaval, fear, sickness and for some death.
Solidarity with Christians who are Persecuted
Today, along with reflecting on the cross in our own lives and around us we are in solidarity with our Christian sisters and brothers in worldwide.
In solidarity through our participation in the suffering of Jesus Christ, whose death and resurrection is the source of hope and who enables us to face the darkness in this world knowing that the light shines, and that the darkness will never overcome it. Our prayer today is that our solidarity will mediate Christ’s presence and hope to our persecuted brothers and sisters.
The Power of the Cross – Good Friday
Good Friday is all about the transforming power of suffering love. It takes two pieces of wood to make a cross. That is important for us as we venerate the cross this Good Friday. God so loved the world that he sent his only son to die for us. Beaten, laughed at, ridiculed and tortured – He accepted it all out of love for us.
Acceptance of God’s Love
The part of the cross where the two arms meet is a juncture which represents the call to love ourselves. Sometimes that is where we fail the most. To love one’s self is also a part of the Great Commandment that Jesus gave to us. To forgive ourselves of the mistakes that we have made, to accept ourselves as we are, to be able to accept God’s infinite love for us. It is our response to God’s love in Jesus, and completes the cross.
We adore you O Christ and praise you, because by the holy Cross you have redeemed the world. Amen!