Gospel Reflections

Feast of Good Friday

John 18:1-19:42

Sunday Gospel Reflection by Sister Rita Raboin

Published: April 19, 2019


Today, we meditate on and are moved into a space of boundless love, human pain, and expectant hope. They are elements that probably characterize our world today and the people who love, suffer and still seek hope.

Many years ago, in a conversation with a poor elderly woman in Brazil, she said “Every suffering has its resurrection.” She said that so calmly and even with a glint in her eye. She’s been there. Dona Maria has lived through her Good Friday more than once. She can share that from a very deep place of human experience. And can’t we all, at one time or another? It’s a statement that appears almost inherently contradictory but in reality, so inextricably intertwined.
    
Reflecting upon Jesus on this day so many years ago, it is striking to me how blatantly open Jesus is in the olive grove when arrested. “I am he”…if you are looking for me, then let these men go.” Jesus assumes His space with integrity. He attempted to prepare his Apostles for this moment so many times before.

He is arrested, mocked, forced to carry the cross, but comforts the women along the way and even provides for His mother with his friend John. In Luke’s Gospel, we read he even forgives a condemned man like Himself in the last moments of His life. Even as He is dying, He is giving hope to others as He did so many times before, to the blind, the deaf, the disabled, the condemned woman…  

It is interesting to note, that at the foot of the cross, besides his mother and John were also, Mary of Cleopas and Mary Magdalena - the latter who became the real first apostle of the Resurrection news of Jesus. The continuity of His Mission is present in her person. She, who was resurrected in her own life, became the bearer of good news that would generate hope for all who believed in Jesus.

“Every suffering has its resurrection,” we are told by a simple follower of Jesus. How are we called to witness love and hope in the suffering of our world today? How do we see the opportunities to energize people and address unjust situations in all of their expressions? We look to Jesus today and remember His suffering but not end there. We are called to see and to be enlivened in so many ways by the hope that is integral in what Jesus lived and suffered.  We are called to attend to the suffering around us and simultaneously generate hope the way Jesus did in bringing new life to those, like Dona Maria, who so desperately need it.



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