To watch Fr. Joe’s homily from The Good Friday Service: CLICK HERE!
When I reflected upon today’s Good Friday Service, the first thing that came to my mind was Jesus saying, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.”
Here is Jesus of Nazareth, looking down from the cross just after he was crucified between two criminals. He sees the soldiers who have mocked, scourged, and tortured him, and who have just nailed him to the cross. He probably remembers those who have sentenced him – Caiaphas and the high priests of the Sanhedrin. Pilate realized it was out of envy that they handed him over.
And maybe Jesus is also thinking of his Apostles and companions who have deserted him; of Peter who has denied him three times; to the fickle crowd who only days before praised him on his entrance to Jerusalem, and then days later demanded his crucifixion?
Maybe Jesus was also thinking of us, who forget him in our lives, from time to time…
But here on the cross, Jesus’s love prevails. Jesus asks his Father to forgive all of us!
For it is by the very sacrifice of Jesus on the cross that all humanity is able to be forgiven! Forgiveness was a central theme of Jesus.
Jesus teaches us forgiveness in the Our Father, “Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.”
When asked by Peter, how many times should we forgive someone, Jesus answers seventy times seven.
And during the institution of the Eucharist at the Last Supper, Jesus tells them to drink of the cup, “Drink of it, all of you; for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins”.
Jesus call to forgive is also a call to love. To love deeply, to love as God loves.
Maybe this Good Friday is another reminder that the love our God calls us to live daily includes being forgiving persons, families and peoples – yesterday, today and tomorrow.
May we, like Jesus, also be able to forgive others spontaneously, sincerely and with deep love!