Good Friday of the Lord’s Passion
Dear brothers and sisters,
Many centuries ago, in one of his homilies for Christmas, Pope Saint Gregory the Great admonished his hearers, saying, “Christian recognize your dignity…” How many Christians do not now know their dignity?
It is no secret that there are a great many people today – men, women, and children - who live without hope, who do not sense their own worth, who think they are not valued by anyone and so they have little love for themselves. They have been deeply wounded by abandonment by betrayal, by use and abuse, by greed and poverty, by hunger and thirst, and by sickness and isolation. Having forgotten what it is to be truly loved, they live without hope and often find themselves in a state of despair; they have forgotten their own dignity.
On this Friday which we call Good, we have a wondrous and inexhaustible reminder of our dignity as Christians. Today we remember that “it was in Christ that the unthinkable became a reality. In Christ, God showed that man was worth suffering for.” Why does one willingly suffer for another if not because of love? Do not parents willingly suffer for their children and friends willingly suffer for each other? Do we not know that we are loved, at least in part, by how much someone is willing to suffer for us?
We do not like to think much about this central aspect of love; we prefer the more romantic notion. But, at its core, authentic and sincere love “seeks the good of the beloved: it becomes renunciation and it is ready, and even willing, for sacrifice.”
Soon, brothers and sisters, we will gaze upon the wood of the Cross; we will see the unmistakable sign of Christ Jesus’ love for each one of us. We will see the proof of the pain he bore for us and of sufferings that he endured for us (cf. Isaiah 53:4). Standing, sitting, or kneeling before his Cross, how can we not see how much he loves us? How can we not recognize our dignity?
|Ms. 64 (97.MG.21), fol. 86|
To be loved by God who suffered and died for us while we were still sinners is to have a dignity so great that it cannot be taken away from us (cf. Romans 5:8 and 8:38). As we adore the Cross of our Savior, let us not leave it here; let us, rather, take it with us everywhere we go. Let us hold the Cross aloft so that all who see it will know what Christ suffered. Let us hold the Cross aloft so that all who see it will know that they have been redeemed. Let us hold the Cross aloft so that all who see it will recognize their dignity. Let us hold the Cross aloft so that all who see it will entrust themselves to the hands of his mercy. Let us hold the Cross aloft so that all who see it will know they are not forgotten but immensely and personally loved. Amen.