Jesus' Good Friday Message
by Father Joe Breighner
On the night of Good Friday, as His lifeless body lay in the tomb, what
would Jesus want to say to us? If His Spirit could speak to us from that place
of burial, what would He want to say to us down through the ages? I imagine that Jesus
would say the following:
The Dead Christ Supported by an Angel -
by CANO, Alonso -
from Museo del Prado, Madrid
"I went through all of that because you are worth it. You are worth living for. You are worth dying
for. In your darkest nights, in your deepest depression, remember that
God thought you were worth His life. You are loved
that much. You matter that much. Greater love no one has than to lay down his life for a friend.
"I did not die so that you could live in
guilt and self-recrimination. I died to set
you free from guilt and sin. I
am not honored by your shame. I am
honored by you using your life to make life better for others. I did not
come into the world to condemn the world but to save it. I
am glorified by your creating something beautiful with your life.
"I went through all of that pain and degradation the
beating, the spitting, the taunting, the
nailing, the stabbing, the ridicule and
rejection to model to you how to handle the misfortunes of life. There
will be people who will hurt you in life. There will be people who enjoy your pain. There
will be people in your life who will betray you as Judas betrayed
"Yet, while some people let Me down, some surprising people stepped forward. Joseph of
Arimathea and Nicodemus, people who had formerly come to Me only secretly or by night, now came out into
the light. Therefore, do not let the unfairness and
injustices in your life turn you bitter or cynical. There will be
angels on your path as well. There will be a Simon of Cyrene to help you to carry your
Cross. There will be friends, like the beloved disciple and the women, who stayed with Me all the way
to the Cross.
"So endure your Cross bravely. When others nail you with false
accusations, when people misjudge you, when your goodness is rewarded with
meanness, do not focus on lifes harshness, but focus on your God. You will not be abandoned.
And as I arose above the cruelty, so will you.
"So, let go of your anger and bitterness, and hold onto
your God. And I will take you off your Cross.
I will call you out of your grave. I will take
you from Time to Eternity, to be in the presence of God forever. I have promised
it, and I keep My promises."
As I wrote those words of Jesus, I recalled another person going through
another kind of crucifixion. A woman was dying of AIDS.
"Ive ruined my life," she said to a priest.
"Ive ruined the lives of those around me. Ive embarrassed my family.
Now Im going to die and go to Hell."
The priest noticed a picture of a young woman on her bedside table.
"Who is that?" he asked. Her eyes lighted up, and she replied,
"Thats my daughter. Shes the one thing I did right in my life. Shes the one
part of my life thats good."
The priest then asked the dying woman,
"If your daughter made a mistake, if she did something you wish she had not done, would you
reject her? Would you condemn her?"
The woman replied, "Oh, no. I love my daughter. Id do anything for her. I would
never reject her."
The priest responded, "Well, God has a picture of you just like that on His bedside
Meditations on the Triduum
by Father John Corapi