My dear brothers and sisters in Christ,1
Today, as we just heard, we contemplate Jesus dying on the Cross. Good Friday is about Jesus loving us to the end.
He died for us and for our sins, as we also heard in the first reading from the prophet Isaiah.
But he was pierced for our offenses,
crushed for our sins. …
Because he surrendered himself to death
and was counted among the wicked …
and he shall take away the sins of many,
and win pardon for their offenses.
Jesus paid for our sins in blood — his own blood. And yet through all the suffering and all the pain, Good Friday is also a day of joy.
Because today Jesus died so that you and I could be born again. By his dying he destroyed death and opened the gate to heaven for us.
We heard those beautiful words from the Letter to the Hebrews in our second reading that are, as probably some of you know, one of my favorite ones.
We have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens …
So let us confidently approach the throne of grace
to receive mercy and to find grace for timely help.
As many of you know, I chose these words for my own episcopal motto, to express my vision for my pastoral ministry.
And I believe that Good Friday is the day of mercy. By his sacrifice on the Cross, Jesus fully reveals the mercy of God to every man and every woman.
My dear brothers and sisters, by his death, Jesus opened up the fountain of grace and mercy for us.
And as we also heard, in the last moment of cruelty, the soldier pierced the Sacred Heart of our Lord — and out flowed his precious blood and the fountain of living water — the signs of Baptism and the Eucharist.
On the Cross, Jesus brought us home to our Father. He made it possible for each of us to call God our Father and to live as children of God and brothers and sisters to one another.
So, what is left for us as we look upon the Cross on this Good Friday?
Jesus, giving his life for us.
The Cross is the great sign of our how much God loves us. The Cross tells us that we are all precious to God and he never stops loving us. Never gets tired of forgiving us.
And we need also to remember that there is no Christianity without the Cross. The way of following Jesus is the way of love. And love without sacrifice is not love at all, we know that.
There is no other way to follow Jesus than to carry our own crosses and to help others to carry their crosses.
We need to make our lives fruitful through our own works of mercy, our own works of love.
So as we venerate the Cross today, let us thank Jesus for his great love. 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 to our brothers and sisters.
Let us become missionaries of the mercy of God.
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.
1. Readings (Good Friday, Year B): Isa. 52:13-53:12; Ps. 31:2, 6, 12-13, 15-17, 25; Heb. 4:14-16; 5:7-9; John 18:1-19:42.