He prays for us even as we injure him (Good Friday)

crossI’m not going to say too much today:- because it’s a sad day – we’ve murdered our Creator; and we’ve already got plenty of material for reflection – God’s body is lying here dead on this cold slab.  Except for maybe three things.

One: sometimes we wonder, and would like to know, just how bad the crucifixion was.  How much did God suffer for us.  We he tells us in the first reading: it was so bad that once they’d finished he didn’t look human anymore.  That’s what the text says: so disfigured did he look that he seemed no longer human.  They’d destroyed his humanity.  That’s what evil does.  It destroys our humanity.  This is why it’s so important that we don’t toy with sin.  Sometimes we can say to ourselves, oh I won’t go all the way in that particular sin, I’ll just be a little greedy, or have a quick look, or I’ll just do this thing with my friends.  Evil does not like you.  Satan does not like you.  He hates your guts, and only the restraining hand of God now is preventing him from destroying us.  Alone, facing the devil, he would tear us to shreds, he is so far more powerful than us.  And we know that because that is what he does to Jesus.  The most faithful servant of God?  So, Satan will be the most terrible, to try to stop him.  This is why in our lives Christians have zero tolerance for evil.  And by that I mean especially the little things – because little evils always lead to bigger ones.  

A second point to consider: it was not just on Good Friday that Jesus suffered.  His death is the culmination of thirty-three years of suffering.  Every day was a suffering for him.  Why?  Because here he was, immaculate God, perfect love, constantly surrounded by men and women who somehow thought it was attractive to hurt and use and demean themselves and each other and God.  Evil is not only destructive: it is also ugly.  And we see this in the nature of the sin: the more evil it is the more perverted and unattractive it is.  So if there is something at home which causes you to sin – go home this afternoon, and, as Jesus says, chuck it out.  And as we touch the cross this afternoon, bring to the cross your biggest sin, and ask Jesus to free you from it.

My third and last point is this: what is Jesus’ attitude during his suffering?  It hurts him terribly of course – more than it would hurt any of us because only he is perfect good and so he is hurt perfectly.  But what is his attitude as we are crucifying him?  Even as we injure him, he is praying and crying for us to the Father.  That’s what he tells us in the second reading: During his life on earth, he offered up prayer and entreaty, aloud and in silent tears, to the one who had the power to save him out of death, and he submitted so humbly that his prayer was heard.  Even as we hurt him, he prays for us.  This is why, no matter how far you feel away from God, come to him in Confession: and then receive him in Holy Communion.  Even when you were sinning, he was praying for you.  He has been praying for you the whole time.  And if you bring yourself to him, to save you, his prayer will not go unanswered – as the hints of the events of the third day already start to tell us.