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Today is a day set aside for reflection. The liturgy is solemn. The altar is bare. There are no banners hanging around. We are quiet. There is no celebration because there is no Eucharist. We are looking forward to celebrating Easter Sunday;However, before we celebrate Easter Sunday we need to also experience Good Friday. We need to enter the tomb
Suffering in all its forms seems to be part and parcel of our existence and no-one has suffered more than Christ himself
In the agony of the garden Jesus was fully aware of the cross he was about to carry he knew the bitter cup he was about to drink Great anguish came over him so much so his sweat became blood - He was afraid very afraid it made him cry out in a loud voice "Father take this cup of suffering away from me but not my will be done but yours" - Jesus was in total obedience to his Father
We are also called to pick up our cross every day but sometimes our cross can be hard to bear.
- Marriage is for life- What happens when a marriage - breaks down - divorce can cause so much pain in a family
- The loss of a loved one we grieve and ask ourselves Why?
- Sickness - cancer - mental illness when it comes knocking on our door how do we cope?
- The anguish of parents trying to educate and bring up their children in what appears to be a dark world
- The effect of gambling, alcohol and drug abuse which tears a family apart.
These are unwanted crosses in our lives and they make us cry out Why - Why me- -Where are you Lord --------- Why have you abandoned me?
Christ felt the same pain as we do His cross was an unwanted cross but he took it up because he had us all in mind
His disciples who once swore allegiance now broke ranks they denied him, betrayed him, they ran from him, and all at a time when he needed them most
He had to endure taunts, insults, people spiting on him, punching him, and though it made him fall he got himself back up and continued in complete obedience to his Father
Those same people who once welcomed him now rejected him.
Jesus was divine but he was also human and he felt the full force of Calvary and the pain of rejection just as we do.
As Jesus hung from the cross suffering 3 hours of agony he took upon himself the full weight of our sin the sins of the world. There was no consolation for Christ on the cross and for Jesus who proclaimed he and the Father are one felt the total abandonment of his Father -he felt alone.
As we are asked to carry our cross God promises us we are never alone he will never abandon us that's his promise that's his word and God always honors his promise and his word is truth
There will be times of doubt, anxiety, fear, distress, we may even fall by the weight of our sin but rest assured that Jesus will become our Simon of Cyrene he will comfort and console us forgive us our sins and gently lead us back to the narrow path that leads to eternal life
Jesus last words on the cross were "it is accomplished"
The debt of our sins has been paid in full - The gates of heaven which were once firmly closed are now opened wide we can now freely enter into the Fathers presence without fear and without condemnation
The prophet Isaiah said it pleased the Father to crush his Son this comment does not seem logical or indeed fair coming from a God of Love - it needs understanding
Fr John once said in a funeral homily that we cannot see over the horizon but God our Father did and we are the main benefactors of our Lords Passion, Death and Resurrection
As we come up to kiss and embrace the cross today lets not be afraid to embrace the cross in our lives and pray the prayer Jesus prayed "Not my will be done but yours Lord"
Yes through one mans disobedience came death ------- but through another mans obedience has come Eternal life - Access to the Father
Perhaps we can take time and reflect on our Lords passion as often as we possibly can because its power can and will change our lives forever.