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quod pro nobis traditum est

Friday, April 14, 2006

Homily for Good Friday

Good Friday 2006

In the Garden a New Tomb - John 19:41-42


Now in the place where He was crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb in which no one had yet been laid. So there they laid Jesus, because of the Jews’ Preparation Day, for the tomb was nearby.


In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.


Two of the last words of Jesus before He gave up His Spirit and died were "I thirst." Jesus suffered in the body as He hung on the cross and this suffering is how Jesus departed "His own." Everything in the days before pointed to this hour, the hour of His glory. This hour of glory is an hour of suffering and pain but not an hour that Jesus sought to escape. So He thirsts and dies. When He is given sour wine to quench this brief suffering He is ready and says, "It is finished."

"It is finished." The Son of David is finished suffering all the sin that He bore in the body because of His love for "His own" whom He loves to the end. He came from God for this very hour. For God so loved the world. This moment is God's glorious hour. Now man is reconciled to God and has peace with Him. Jesus has shed His blood as the perfect sacrifice and the blood and water that flows out of His side gives life to all who believe. This is an hideous death and Jesus, though innocent, dies like a criminal among criminals. The witnesses are there. As He gave up His spirit He died in the flesh.

Born of the Blessed Virgin Mary, He now hangs lifeless on the cross. His mother is there with Him and the beloved disciple takes her into his care as Jesus requested. With Pilate's permission Joseph of Arimathea comes and takes Jesus' body away for burial. Nicodemus brought about 100 pounds of a mixture of myrrh and aloes. Following the Jewish custom, they buried Jesus in strips of linen with the spices.

The reality of Jesus' death is recorded in detail in Holy Scripture. The holy Evangelists portray this moment in history for the Church. We remember the Passion and Death of our Lord for it is His glorious hour. Sinless, He marched to Jerusalem putting aside all temptations and distractions. Satan put it into the heart of Judas to betray Jesus but He could not put it into Jesus' heart to avoid His suffering and death. The victory is seen then at the cross, in Jesus' suffering and death. The serpent's head is crushed. Jesus overcame temptation in the wilderness and now He vanquishes all power of the devil in becoming death for us and for the life of the world.

Holy Scripture records, "Now in the place where He was crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb in which no one had yet been laid. So there they laid Jesus . . ." The Tree of Life in the Garden of Eden was protected by the angels of God so that Adam and Eve would not eat of it. The sin and resulting death that is in the world leads us away from God and away from life in His Son, Jesus Christ. He is the new Adam and His cross is the Tree of Life. We are overcome by this sin and temptation which cannot receive God's goodness and which is everywhere in this world, infecting our own bodies. Here in the garden, in a new tomb near where Jesus was crucified lies the body of our Lord prepared for burial. This body given unto death for our sins, this blood shed for us for the forgiveness of sins, lies apparently helpless and defeated. So too is our sin and the death that we face in the body, helpless and defeated. For now we are clearly redeemed in both soul and body and in His death we are given life. Amen.


In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

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