Tag Archives: Good Friday

Good Friday

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!

Good Friday

To watch Fr. Joe’s homily from Good Friday: CLICK HERE!

This day, one of the most solemn and holiest days in our Christian tradition speaks to us about great suffering, betrayal, rejection and sadness.  While also offering incredible hope.

The Gospel today is very familiar; but a Gospel that is never easy to listen too.  Yet we are invited to enter into every moment of the Lord’s suffering and sacrifice and at the same time recalling to mind own faults, failings and sin — and above all the Lord’s love for us.

And that is where the hope comes in: suffering and sacrifice that is rooted in LOVE.

And, yes we know that, but in these troubling times the reminder of God’s great love cannot occur often enough.

About 7 years ago, I was in Myrtle Beach for the World Golf Amateur.  One morning before the tournament began, I played a practice round at one of the golf courses.  Since I was alone, I joined two other golfers.  Introductions were made and we began what one non-golfer has called a good walk spoiled.  Well that day we did little walking, carts were mandatory.

Of course between shots there was conversation about many things, including questions like: Where are you from?  Are you retired?  What do you do for a living?

Well after several holes, one of the guys asks, “Joe what do you do for a living?”  To which I answer, “I am a Roman Catholic Priest.”  Well, as you might imagine the language for the rest of the round was Rated G.

Any ways when we finished, I was putting my clubs into my car, and one of the golfers came over to talk.  He shared with me, with tears in his eyes, “Father Joe it was only recently that I really came to understand and appreciate that if I was the only person to ever live on the earth, Jesus Christ lived and died and rose for me.  I thank God for his love every day and make an effort to live his love through my life every day.”

Let us pray today for OPEN HEARTS as we walk with Jesus as he carries his cross.  Today is an opportunity for us to grasp more fully what Jesus did for us out of love and to consider how we might give his sacrifice deeper meaning in and through our own lives.

At the end of today and every day there is only one thing that matters…  Jesus made that clear through his suffering and sacrifice and by his very words, “as I have loved you, so you must love one another.”

Good Friday and “Hope” – A Poem about the Coronavirus

Good Friday, one of the Holiest in our Christian Tradition, marks an occasion of great suffering, betrayal, rejection, and sadness – while offering us incredible hope!

Join us for our Good Friday Service, Friday April 10, 2020 at 5:00 pm from your home via our livestreaming channel, which can be found by clicking HERE.


The following poem was used by Father Joe Cebula, Pastor of St. Mary’s Church, Crescent, NY in his live streamed 10:30 am Mass of Sunday, March 22, 2020.  All Catholic Churches are closed due to the Coronavirus)

 Hope – a poem about the Coronavirus
by Brother Richard Hendrick, Capuchin Franciscan monk living in Ireland

Yes there is fear.                                                                                                                                                     Yes there is isolation.
Yes there is panic buying.                                                                                                                                  Yes there is sickness.
Yes there is even death.

They say that in Wuhan after so many years of noise
You can hear the birds again.

They say that after just a few weeks of quiet
The sky is no longer thick with fumes
But blue and grey and clear.

They say that in the streets of Assisi
People are singing to each other
across the empty squares,
keeping their windows open
so that those who are alone
may hear the sounds of family around them.

They say that a hotel in the West of Ireland
Is offering free meals and delivery to the housebound.

Today a young woman I know
is busy spreading fliers with her number
through the neighborhood
So that the elders may have someone to call on.

Today Churches, Synagogues, Mosques and Temples
are preparing to welcome
and shelter the homeless, the sick, the weary

All over the world people are slowing down and reflecting
All over the world people are looking at their neighbors in a new way
All over the world people are waking up to a new reality

To how big we really are.
To how little control we really have.
To what really matters.
To Love.

So we pray and we remember that
Yes there is fear.
But there does not have to be hate.

Yes there is isolation.
But there does not have to be loneliness.

Yes there is panic buying.
But there does not have to be meanness.

Yes there is sickness.
But there does not have to be disease of the soul.

Yes there is even death.
But there can always be a rebirth of love.

Wake to the choices you make as to how to live now.

Today, breathe.

Listen, behind the factory noises of your panic
The birds are singing again
The sky is clearing,
Spring is coming,

And we are always encompassed by Love.
Open the windows of your soul

And though you may not be able
to touch across the empty square,

Good Friday

Scriptures:     Isaiah 52:13 – 53:12;    Hebrews 4:14-16; 5:7-9;   John 18:1 – 19:42

Last night I mentioned that Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday (The Triduum) are filled with “actions” that reflect the “words” of these sacred days, that are central to our faith and lives.

Last night (Holy Thursday), we were given a model to follow by Jesus to “wash the feet of others.”  To actively minister to all people, beginning with the person who is with us, who approaches us.  Like the women who came and sat next to me at a local restaurant after she heard the server say, “Hi Father Joe.”  And so for the next 30 minutes, she shared her story of faith or as she might say of “no faith.”  Bottom line – she was kind enough to pay for dinner;  I for my part shared that I would send to her a copy the book: Rediscover Jesus, which I said I was sure she would appreciate.

Tonight (Good Friday) our attention is focused on the Cross.  You might say that the Cross is the ultimate sign of God’s love for us.  With hands outstretched – nailed to the Cross – Jesus, the God-Man reminds us of love, his eternal love.

Children often tell their parents, how much they love them, with arms and hands outstretched they say, “I love you this much!”

And just maybe every Good Friday, every time we look at the Cross we are meant to hear Jesus says with his arms and hands outstretched, “I love you this much.”

I would also suggest that this “Great Love” of Jesus is an eternal reminder to each of us, the Disciples of Jesus, to love others with our arms and hands outstretched that say daily,  “I love you this much” in times of doubt or certainty; in times of joy or sorrow; in times of convenience or annoyance.

As disciples of Jesus, may we actively live each day our exuberant expressions that we love God and love others – “This Much!”  That makes a real difference.