My brothers and sisters in Christ,1
Today our Gospel reading takes us to Jerusalem and we are standing at the foot of the Cross.
Just like we can today look at the Crucified Jesus here in the sanctuary of our Cathedral. And I was reflecting this week on the many things that we can consider looking at Jesus on the Cross.
We should reflect on those words that he said right before he dies. And as we heard in today’s reading of the Gospel, Jesus says two words, “I thirst.”
I was thinking that if we only know two words from Jesus — then this might be the two words we need to know. “I thirst.”
Jesus is thirsty. But he is not thirsty only for water. He is thirsty for love. Jesus is thirsting for your love and for my love.
This is the one thing we need to know about God — he longs for our love. God thirsts for us to love him.
That’s what today is all about. That’s what the Cross is all about. How much God loves each one of us! And how much he is willing to suffer — in order to reveal his love to us.
Everything we see today — all the violence that they do to Jesus, all the injustice and suffering. It is all for us. For you and for me. He did all this for us and for our salvation.
The prophet Isaiah tells us in the first reading that we heard today:
He was pierced for our offenses,
crushed for our sins. …
Because he surrendered himself to death
… he shall take away the sins of many,
and win pardon for their offenses.
Our God, my dear brothers and sisters, is a God of mercy. As the prophet tells us today, Jesus forgives our sins, he reconciles us with God and with one another. He gives us peace.
We all want peace. We want to feel “right.” “Right” in our relationships with the people in our lives, in our families especially. We also want to feel “right” with ourselves. To feel right with God.
Jesus gives us that peace. Nobody else can do this for us! Nobody else can forgive our sins and give us freedom. Nobody else can give us this peace that we are looking for.
This is the beautiful truth that we consider today. God knows everything about you and about me. So he knows that we are all trying to do the best we can. But he knows that sometimes we make choices that lead our lives in the wrong direction.
God knows all this and he loves us just the same. He also knows that we need his help. We cannot save ourselves.
It’s not important anymore — where we have been or the mistakes we have made. What is important is God’s forgiveness and where he wants to lead us.
This is what Jesus is telling us from the Cross today.
Jesus is thirsty on the Cross — because he wants us to be thirsty for him.2 He wants us to have this great thirst, this great desire for his love and forgiveness.
So what do we today? What do we do when we leave today’s liturgy?
My dear brothers and sisters, we only need to accept the gift of Jesus, the gift that he is giving us on the Cross today.
So let’s make that promise to Jesus today — to live the way he teaches us, to follow his example. To love others with the same love, with the same intensity that he has loved us. We need to give ourselves to Jesus — as he has given himself to us. We need to give everything, holding nothing back.
That’s the beautiful challenge for our lives, and that’s a beautiful resolution for today’s celebration of Good Friday.
At the foot of the Cross, where we stand today, we meet Mary, his Blessed Mother, and our Mother. And let us stay close to Mary. Let us stay close to Jesus, especially during this beautiful year Jubilee of Mercy. And let us wait together in prayer — for the Resurrection of Easter morning.