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A Meditation on the Good Friday Liturgy

by Fr. Cusick

Osee 6. 1-6; Habacuc 3. 1-3; Exodus 12. 1-11; Psalm 139. 2-10, 14; John 18. 1-40; 19. 1-42 

Brothers and Sisters in Christ, 

Jesus Christ gives greatest glory to the Father precisely in the shattering degradation and utmost ignominy of the Cross. "The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified." (Jn 12,23) Dying Jesus destroys our death and rising he restores our life, but the work must now be completed for each of us daily. 

You and I share in Christ's glorious completion of the Father's will when we too accept the Cross and the Passion heroically and generously in our lives: "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit." (Jn 12, 24) It appears at first as though Christ merely reminds us that we too must die as he will, and prepares us to accept it. But listen to what he says next: "He who loves his life loses it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life." This dying, then, is one which bears fruit by detachment from this world for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. A daily dying to the self by overcoming a million petty urges and desires. A generous acceptance of the duties of marriage and family life with cheerfulness. A configuring to the truth by rejection of sin and regular Confession. 

A husband meets his greatest challenge to die to self and live for Christ as he devotedly cares for his terminally ill wife unto the end, never counting the cost in dollars or days. He has chosen Christ and "hated" his own life in this world so that he can live forever. A wife attends to her paraplegic husband in a heroic living of her marriage vows, choosing Christ and his life, and "hating" her life in this world because she looks forward with anticipation to the day when both she and her husband will know no more pain, suffering, labor or temptation. 

A parent unconditionally loves his child afflicted with Downs syndrome, open to the Godly beauty and goodness that child has brought into the world. He "hates" his life in this world and sees a foretaste of heaven in the innocence of his child. He desires to share forever in the glory of God's love and understands that he must reject the very easy path of selfishness. The infertile couple reject the temptation to manipulate the process of life-giving through unnatural methods of conception and open themselves to the joys of adoption. They truly "hate" their lives in this world in reverence for God and the desire to do his will, choosing salvation as their greatest hope over the other good things this life offers. 

We are not alone in our temptation to reject the crosses by which we are born into life if we will only bear them with patience and courage. Our sharing in baptism is the gift of grace so that we can desire a share in Christ's redemptive passion as the focus and purpose of our lives. 

The desire to embrace his Father's plan of redeeming love inspired Jesus' whole life, (Cf. Lk 12:50; 22:15; Mt 16:21-23) for his redemptive passion was the very reason for his Incarnation. And so he asked, 'And what shall I say? "Father, save me from this hour"? No, for this purpose I have come to this hour.' (Jn 12:27) And again, 'Shall I not drink the cup which the Father has given me?' (Jn 18:11) From the cross, just before 'It is finished,' he said, 'I thirst.' (Jn 19:30; 19:28) " (CCC 607) 

In our prayer let us truly thirst for the Father's will in and with Jesus our Lord as we utter the words "Thy will be done." 

(used with the permission of  Fr. Cusick from his site www.christusrex.org/www1/mcitl/lowhome.html)