Let us strive this Good Friday to contemplate our Savior’s great love
Reflections on the readings for Good Friday (April 10, 2020): IS 52:13–53:12; PS 31:2,6,12-13,15-16,17,25; HEB 4:14-16; 5:7-9; JN 18:1–19:42
MISSIO offers “Preaching Mission,” as a homily help, providing connections to mission from the readings of Sundays, Feast Days and Holy Days.
On this Good Friday we listen to the profoundly moving account of the hours leading up to the crucifixion of our Lord.
We hear about the men and women who are perpetually associated with the day that the Son of God died. One of those is certainly Pontius Pilate, the governor of Judea. Whenever we say the Apostles’ Creed we say that Jesus Christ “suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried.” In the Nicene Creed, we say that “For our sake, He was crucified under Pontius Pilate.” The first time we meet this brutal Roman administrator, he asks Jesus, “Are You the King of the Jews?” This is the first of fifteen times that the word king or kingdom is used in today’s Gospel reading from St. John. Sadly, Pilate is unwilling or unable to understand that Jesus, the carpenter from Nazareth, is not only the King of Kings, but also Truth incarnate. “Jesus answered, ‘My kingdom does not belong to this world.’… So Pilate said to Him ‘Then You are a king?’ Jesus answered, ‘You say I am a king, For this I was born and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to My voice.’ Pilate said to Him, ‘What is truth?’” (John 18:36-38).
When Pilate orders Christ to be scourged, the soldiers decide to have a laugh at the expense of their prisoner. They mock and bully Him by draping Him in a purple cloak, pushing a crown of thorns into His head, and hitting Jesus while ridiculing Him, saying “Hail, King of the Jews!” None of the Romans or Jews with some power is capable of realizing whom they are persecuting. Jesus is King and more than a king. He is the Son of God and Savior of the world. But anyone consumed with earthly power and selfish ambitions can never really comprehend what matters or who matters. Whether from fear or hatred, pride or greed, they are blind to the compassion of God for His people. Only when we humbly open our hearts and souls to His goodness and love can we recognize the face of Christ. He is as visible to us today as He was then – we have only to look into the face of our neighbors, especially the most vulnerable. He is among us now and always will be.