My dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
The story that we have just relived in our Gospel reading — the great drama of our Lord’s passion and death — is a story that involves each one of our lives.
It is a mystery of God’s love for us. The Cross shows us how much he loves us. The Cross shows us that he loves us so much, that he would suffer humiliation and agony. The worst kind of death, all for you and for me.
And what did he do to deserve this love, this sacrifice? Absolutely nothing. Jesus goes to his Cross for us simply because he loves us. He suffers for us because he created us in love and we are precious in his eyes. Jesus Christ did not have to die on his Cross, he told his apostles that he wanted to. He could have hundreds of angels to come down from Heaven and save him from this fate, but he chose to suffer. He chose to die.
These were acts of total freedom on Jesus’ part. No one takes his life from him. He lays it down of his own accord. The death of Jesus was not an accident. The prophets predicted it, his passion and death are a part of God’s plan from the beginning. From all time, God planned to take his only Son to set us free from sin and death and restore us to the glory of God’s image. The glorious liberty of the children of God.
So when we look at Jesus Christ, suffering on his Cross, as we especially today, we see how much God loves us, every one of us. He loves each one of us as if we are the only one. So his Cross, as painful as it is, is a beautiful gift.
But my dear brothers and sisters, it is also a challenge for us. Jesus dies so that we can live, not for ourselves, but for him. Jesus dies for us so that we can live for God. So our lives are a reason, we are worth the blood of God’s only son. So we have to lead our lives in a new way, in a way that is worthy of the sacrifice we see on the Cross.
Once again, Jesus is calling us to follow him. To help him carry out his mission on Earth. Jesus is calling us to share his promises of mercy and salvation with everyone.
But my brothers and sisters, today let us ask once again, the grace to serve others with works of mercy. Especially the poor and the most vulnerable. So let us open our hearts to Jesus today, as he opened his heart on the Cross for us. Let us begin again to live for Jesus and to serve him with our lives.
Our Holy Father Pope Francis has given us a beautiful message for this Good Friday. He tells us that today, we should look upon the Cross. And he says, we should consider Jesus’ pain, and then say to ourselves, ‘it is for me.’ Even if I were the only person in the world, he would have done this for me.” And Pope Francis said, “Let us kiss the crucifix and say, ‘for me, thank you Jesus, for me.”
So as we venerate the Cross today, let us thank Jesus for his great love. And let us ask for that grace to live our lives for him in the service of others, especially bringing the mercy and love of Jesus of God to our brothers and sisters. And let us continue to stay close to the Blessed Mother Mary, who is our mother and the mother of Jesus. That we might rejoice with her at the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ this Easter Sunday.