A SHORT REFLECTION ON THE SECRED PASCHAL TRIDUUM
BY REV. FR. HERBERT ENE
PART TWO: GOOD FRIDAY OF THE PASSION OF THE LORD
On this day, being Good Friday, the universal Church celebrates the Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus, the suffering Messiah carried his Cross to Golgotha in order to pay his price for our salvation. “He was pierced through for faults, crushed for our sins. On him lies a punishment that brings us healed” (Is. 53:5). His wounds and bruises paid the price of our transgressions. His suffering and death are great price for the whole humanity.
To be a true follower of Christ, we must be ready to take up our Cross and follow Him. Jesus says to his disciples in Matthew 16:24: “If anyone wants to follow me, let him deny himself, take up his cross and follow me”. Anyone who finds it difficult to do this will never be a true follower of Christ. As we commemorate the death of Christ, and as we face the challenges and hardship posed by COVID-19 pandemic, may we all learn to die to sin so that we can rise with Christ to new life. May we also share in His suffering today through prayers, fasting and sacrifices that we will surely share in His glory in few days to come!
Furthermore, on the Good Friday of the Lord’s Passion we celebrate the utmost expression of God’s love for us. Here Jesus willingly suffered and died for us. In the Passion narrative, we may discover the three kinds of suffering Jesus encountered.
1. Mental Suffering – Jesus endured the pain of betrayal, hatred and desertion by his loved ones.
2. Physical Suffering – He endured the pain of torture. Jesus was brutally beaten, crowned with thorns and nailed to the Cross.
3. Spiritual Suffering – He endured the pain of abandonment. Jesus hung helplessly on the Cross, hence he cried out: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matt. 27: 46).
Brothers and sisters, whenever we find ourselves suffering in one of these ways, especially in the present situation of COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, we should turn to Jesus in prayer for he suffered before us. He knows how we feel in such a situation, and he will not fail to strengthen us.
At times one may ask, why should God allow this or that suffering to befall him? What crime has he committed that he should face such trials? Whenever we have such thoughts in mind let us remember that Jesus was innocent. Though he was innocent he accepted to die a shameful death on the cross. Why?
The suffering and death of Jesus speak to us in three ways.
First, it is a Sign of LOVE. Jesus says: “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (John 15:13).
Second, it is an Invitation to LOVE. He says: “This is my commandment: love one another as I love you” (John 15: 12).
Finally, it is a Revelation about LOVE. He summoned the crowd with his disciples and said to them, “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me” (Mark 8: 34).
My beloved parishioners let us bear witness to this message of Jesus, by words and deeds. Let us testify to God’s love for us which is made manifest in the suffering and death of our Lord, Jesus Christ. The Cross of Jesus is not a sign of defeat or weakness but rather a sign of victory over sin and death. Let us hand over to God all we are and all we have. God is good! All the time!