Gospel Reflections

Feast of Good Friday

John 18:1-19:42

Feast Day Reflection by Sister Sandra Araujo Santos

Published: March 25, 2016

The Paschal Mystery… is a process of transformation within which we are given both new life and new spirit. It begins with suffering and death, moves on to the reception of new life, spends some time grieving the old and adjusting to the new, and finally, only after the old life has been truly let go of, is new spirit given for the life we are already living.

The Holy Longing – The Search for a Christian Spirituality by Ronald Rolheiser.

When I was asked to do a reflection on the gospel for Good Friday, I began to think: what can I write about a text like this? It is so well known that it is very hard for a person like me who is not an expert on Bible studies, but a simple soul, to write anything deep which would shed further light on this text.

Therefore, since I was using the book cited above for my prayer, I decided to use this line of thinking to prepare my little reflection. Here in my country, Brazil, we prefer to call this day, “Passion Friday,” or simply “The Passion.”

Therefore, to reflect on what happened on that day we have to open our hearts and our beings to see and feel the Passion of our Lord Jesus.

He who was a human being and divine as well, felt in his humanity a passion for us humans, with all our wounds and limitations. He became so passionate for us that he had no doubts about giving himself in sacrifice for us.

At the holy meal he shared with his friends and followers the day before his death, the message he gave was so clear and simple that those who were there had to be sure that they really intended to continue in his way of life. Those who decided to do so had strong faith and courage.

Then I began to think about us here, more than two thousand years after that day and claiming to be Christians, Jesus’ followers. How great is our courage to love? Are we passionate for Jesus and his way of life? How do we show this in our daily lives?

As I look around I see the wounds of our world, humans, nature, all of life crying out asking for love. The ties that should exist among God´s creatures are broken. Violence, intolerance, and hate are frightening. On the other hand, we see Pope Francis being a prophet in our time, trying to return to the initial message of Jesus as he invited his friends to do as he did - to have the same courage to love God´s creation in simplicity and confidence, in solidarity, sisterhood and brotherhood.

However, how much support does he have in this? So many people claim Christianity but are more preoccupied with rituals and dogmas that they sometimes forget the gospel message that is simple but demanding.

As the author says, the Paschal Mystery involves the capacity to let go of our securities, the fences which protect us – to have the courage to go beyond our comfort zones and reach out to our sisters and brothers in need of love.

We need the courage to be passionate for Jesus but not only himself, that man of Nazareth who once walked among us. This courage needs to reach out to the Jesus present in our sisters and brothers suffering within and outside our circle of close friends. We need courage to look beyond the frontiers of our individual world.

This is how I see this holy day’s gospel - the meaning of Jesus´ invitation for us today.

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