Good-for-Us Friday

READINGS: ISA. 52:13-53:12; HEBREWS 4:14-16; 5:7-9;  JOHN 18:1-19:42.

We live daily balanced on the edge, one side is life and the other death; both are shrouded in mystery as well as trepidation. Nonetheless, in my admitted limited experience, even Christians with deep faith and love of Jesus are often visited by doubts and fears especially when facing our frail mortality.

This makes sense for no matter how antiseptic and disguised we make death, using fancy caskets with make-up on the decedent, elaborate prayer services, and wakes, it is still ugly. We are told that death is a consequence of sin’s entry into the world; an unwelcome result of humanity’s choosing evil over good. Death is a rupture, a cutting of a chord, and a blowing out of the individual’s light among us. Whether a person is 40 or 60 or 90 (let alone a newborn) death destroys life and for many unbelievers is seen as evidence for the ‘absurdity and pointlessness of life.

Today we celebrate a death but not an ordinary one. For today,  ‘Good- for- Us  Friday’ we remember that Jesus Christ, the God-Man, freely chose to allow others to mock, torture, and kill Him. He did this not to point to the absurdity of life but its inestimable value. Jesus’ death was to show a nonviolent witness to Truth, holding firm to His teachings, as a demonstration that death’s power can be faced, and overcome with the grace of the Holy Spirit. And- to skip ahead- on Easter with the Resurrection we see death defeated as the Crucified One is now brought back. God’s power is greater than death and God wants us to live, knowing that our life continues after the frame of our body is gone.

We live in a world of increasing violence- where death and nihilism seem to reign. Today we see in the Cross God’s answer is not to offer a simple escape but that God is with everyone who suffers. Incredible and unbelievable.

Today’s Good Friday reminds us of God’s love to suffer for us, as well as the incredible dignity we have as children of God. With God’s grace, we can live not in fear but in joyful celebration.

Please remember the missionary doctors of the Mission Doctors Association who join their talents and lives with the suffering poor in our world.

God bless you and Happy Good Friday!

Br. John Kiesler, OFM

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