Good Friday

The compassionate side of the cross

This Good Friday, we commemorate the passion and death of Jesus.  We recall the words of scripture, "He was so disfigured nobody recognized him ... he was torn away from the land of the living."

On the other hand, there are these words, "The Lord burdened him with all the sins ... there was no perjury in his mouth, he took the fault on himself ... while he prayed for all sinners."

He may have died a gruesome death.  But he served as salvation for many.

Let us reflect how a life of offering would be, taking after our own model, Jesus Christ.

When I was still a young priest, my niece, who was 6 years old back then, upon watching the passion and death of Jesus, asked, "Ang bait bait niya bakit ito ginawa sa kanya?"

Honestly, I was startled I didn't know what to say.  How could I tell her that violence was all around Jesus.  How could I explain to her that we are living in a violent world and cause violence upon others?

The Papal visit at UST also had something like this when a girl wasn't able to finish her speech, and she just cried, "Why do people allow this to happen to children?"

I have no answer.  The violence was beyond comprehension.  All I know is that Jesus suffered all these, taking upon himself the sins of the world.

In last year's homily of the Holy Father Pope Francis on Good Friday, he said that there's two realities the Cross offer: "In the Cross we see the monstrosity of man, when he allows evil to guide him; but we also see the immensity of the mercy of God, who does not treat us according to our sins but according to his mercy."

"Before the Cross of Jesus, we apprehend in a way that we can almost touch with our hands how much we are eternally loved; before the Cross we feel that we are “children” and not “things” or “objects”, as St Gregory of Nazianzus says, addressing Christ with this prayer: “Were it not for You, O my Christ, I would feel like a finite creature. I was born and I feel myself dissolve. I eat, I sleep, I rest and I walk, I fall ill and I recover. Longings and torments without number assail me, I enjoy the sun and how the earth bears fruit. Then, I die and my flesh turns to dust just like that of animals, who have not sinned. But what have I more than them? Nothing, if not God. Were it not for you, O Christ mine, I would feel myself a lost creature."

Could it be that the Holy Father lived this norm by simply embracing the crying girl?  He further talked about the ministry of crying when he said something like this: "If we feel for one another, we help one another."

Thus, Jesus, in being to the cross and dying on cross, opened for us a fountain of mercy and compassion.

Let us show to the world the human and compassionate side of this cross.  Only then can we experience the saving power of Jesus who is Love himself.