Following that agony that brought about this sweating of blood, Christ's hands were tied. While they were doing everything to distract him from what was taking place, a powerful soldier crept up behind him and jammed a crown of thorns on his forehead. And he screamed with pain. A short time later he was directed toward Calvary and carrying a cross was eventually nailed to it and died. A simple, but powerful story.
Now every major religious writer has told this story of love that took place on that first Good Friday. It is a story reminding us of the unconditional love that Christ has for each one of us.
The suffering of Jesus Christ that we are reminded about today is not just some historical event of the past. The Passion of Christ, his sufferings, did not end on Calvary or Good Friday. It is going on in the lives of every home, every family, every person. Christ has reminded us "wheRev.er two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them." This is a reminder that if suffering did not pass by Christ, it will not pass by us. The Passion of Christ is being experienced in the parent who says, "Father, my son is a drug addict", or the mother who says, "my mother has Alzheimer's disease." The Passion of Christ is seen in the life of every alcoholic who must learn to unite his thirst with the thirst of Christ on the Cross. The person who has terminal cancer at one point in his life must say with Christ, "Father into thy hands I commend my spirit."
All of us when a serious illness or accident or setback takes place look for an answer to our questions, "Why me?" And Good Friday, when we look at the most innocent person in the world could ask, "Why him?"
If you are looking for an emotional or pragmatic answer to suffering in your life or the lives of others, you are looking in vain. If suffering was to be the life of Christ, his blessed mother, his apostles and saints, then the only rational answer we can give is "not my will be done, but yours," The story of Christ on Good Friday is one of unconditional love. Christ will never stop offering this unconditional love.
The poet, Francis Thompson, in his beautiful work, "The Hound of Heaven," described how he tried to elude the Cross of Christ and realized that in trying to escape the cross he was running from the love of God and denying God the opportunity to lavish his love.
I fled Him down the nights and days. I fled Him down the arches of the years. I fled him down the labyrinthine ways of my mind; of my own mind and in the midst of tears I hid from Him and under running laughter. Up vistaed hopes, I sped; and shot, precipitated.
The same theme of unconditional love was written about by Joseph Plunkett in his poem, I See His Blood Upon The Rose. This is another reminder that the Passion of Christ was with us for all time.
I see his blood upon the rose
And in the stars the glory of his eyes
His body gleams amid eternal snows
His tears fall from the skies.
Good Friday is a story of God's unconditional love for us. It was not a mistake to reconcile a sinful man with sinless God. Good Friday, though sad, is a reminder that we have a place in heaven because of a God whose love was so great that his last words were, "Father, forgive them for they know not what they do."
May the Passion of Jesus Christ be always in your heart.
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