At the Good Friday Services, Prelatic Church of Our Lady Of Peace, Rome (April 14, 2017)
[This section was given inFrench]
We have just listened to the narration of Christ’s Passion and Death. Just before this, we heard the prophecy of Isaiah (see Is 52:13 to 53:12), who several centuries earlier had predicted these events. Isaiah describes for us the “Servant of Yahweh,” that is, Jesus, weighed down with the sins of mankind, dying to expiate our faults.
Jesus’ incarnation and birth, his life, passion, death, resurrection and ascension into heaven, are historical realities that the liturgy makes newly present and current. God’s power transcends the limits of history. Today, on Good Friday, in the liturgical action that we are celebrating, these events become somehow contemporary for each one of us.
Let us look closely at Christ, not as mere spectators. On Golgotha, the disciples and the holy women did not understand what was happening; they would only come to understand it later. Only Lady, amid her tremendous suffering, knew the meaning of that death. We know its meaning and its redeeming effectiveness by faith. Let us each place ourselves in front of the crucified Jesus. Saint Josemaría was deeply stirred by the figure of Christ, still alive, nailed to the Cross, who looks at us as he looked at Saint John and who speaks to us as he spoke to the repentant thief.
Now too he wants us to repent of our missteps, to decide to be faithful disciples of his. We can consider, as directed to ourselves, to each one of us, the words that Saint Josemaría puts on Jesus’ lips in his book The Way of the Cross: “I suffering, and you... a coward. I loving you, and you forgetting me. I begging you, and you... denying me” (Eleventh Station, no. 2). How can we respond to these words? With sorrow for our sins and, at the same time, with immense gratitude to our Lord, who gives his life for us.
We can share in, distantly, the feelings of our Mother in those hours of the first Good Friday. It was not just the pain of a mother. Certainly, she would have remembered the divine promises that the archangel Gabriel had revealed at the Annunciation: her son, who was the Son of God, would reign eternally over the house of Jacob and his kingdom would have no end (see Lk 1:32-33). Instead she saw him there, nailed to the Cross, disfigured to the point of no longer having a human semblance, as we heard in the prophecy of Isaiah (see Is 52:14). Despised by the leaders of his people and by the crowd, abandoned by his disciples. But Mary understood that the divine promise was being fulfilled when our Lord suffered to save us from our sins and to give us the posssibility of becoming children of God. Besides repenting for our faults and being resolved to have recourse to divine Mercy in the sacrament of Penance, we should live with a deep gratitude because the Cross of Christ is the greatest manifestation of God’s love for each one of us.
Let us look once more at Calvary. Jesus has just died. At the foot of the Cross is his Mother. She was the first to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, in her Immaculate Conception, at the moment of the Incarnation, and now at the foot of the Cross, when Jesus “bowing his head, gave up his spirit” (<i>Jn</i> 19:30). Perhaps we often feel weak or fragile. At those moments we have a wonderful remedy: to go to our Lady, who is our Mother. We have just heard how Jesus gave her as Mother to Saint John, who represents us all. And mothers always know how to forget, to forgive, to encourage. Therefore, let us be very close to our Lady, contemplating these days of Christ’s Passion and Death through her eyes, feeling with her heart. Let us go to the one who is the throne of grace and of God’s glory, <i>ut misericordiam consequamur</i> (<i>Heb</i> 4:16), to obtain the mercy that the world, and each one of us, needs so much. Amen
Romana, No. 64, January-June 2017, p. 124-125.