Good Friday 2014
We continue through our three days of remembering all that Christ has done for us. Last night he stooped down to wash away our sinfulness, he fed us with the Holy Eucharist, and he handed on his ministry to the first priests. Today he shows us exactly how far he is willing to go for each one of us. It is not too much to say that there is nothing more that Christ could possible give us.
He hands over his body. The pain and anguish of Christ on this Good Friday is hard to ignore. Last night he suffered the pain of betrayal at the hand of one of his chosen followers. Then he quickly suffers the pain of abandonment by the rest of his chosen followers. This morning he suffers the pain of being mocked, the pain of being misunderstood, the pain of being unjustly condemned. His physical pains are well known as well, there is the crown of thorns, the scourging at the pillar, the carrying of the cross, the falls on the way. Also on the way to the cross, he suffers the pain of seeing his mother in anguish. His hands and feet are pierced. He is left to die on the cross. Crucifixion is a particularly nasty death as the cross kills by a slow and painful asphyxiation as a person’s lungs fill with fluid. Even after his death, Christ’s heart is pierced with a lance, and blood and water flow out.
I would venture to say that any suffering that a human being could possibly experience in this life was experienced by Christ. Think about any pain you have ever suffered, whether it be physical, emotional, or spiritual. Christ suffers it today. The great lesson that we learn today is that we do not have a Savior who is unable to relate to us in our suffering and pain. No matter what we face in this life, and there are often times of pain and difficulty, was experienced by Christ. In the crucifixion, Christ gives us the key to understanding how to be strong in the face of pain and suffering. He says simply: I thirst.
Remember back a few weeks ago, we heard how Jesus thirsted for the faith of the woman by the well. Jesus’ great thirst is really a thirsting for love. He longs for each one of us. He loves us and wants nothing more than to draw us to himself. It was his thirst that brought him to this earth, and it was this thirst that brought him to the cross. It was this thirst that provides for him the motivation to take each step, it gives him his reason and purpose for undergoing his passion and death.
What a great lesson our Lord teaches us. What is our thirst? In the heart of every human person there is a thirst for God. He made us, we belong to him, we will only be happy when we are in communion with him. Jesus himself is the living water that can satisfy our thirst. So, whenever we suffer in this life, it reminds us of the thirst we have for something more. We thirst for a life without pain, a life without suffering, a life in communion with God. And by recognizing this thirst in the midst of our sufferings, it becomes a pathway to faith.