Fr Vincent's reflections on Good Friday 2021
The Passion of Jesus is a powerful expression of God’s forgiving love for sinners, for you and me. Most of the disciples and apostles fled rather than follow Jesus to Calvary. Only John had the strength to stay with Jesus. How can you and I be more like John rather than the rest who deserted Jesus?
Watch the video: Fr Vincent's reflections on Good Friday 2021
Read the script:
Good Friday 2021 (April 2, 2021)
In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. R/. Amen.
The Grace and Peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. R/. And with your spirit.
On this Good Friday, 2021, as we commemorate Jesus’ Passion: (silence, without “let us pray”)
Remember your mercies, O Lord,
and with your eternal protection sanctify your servants,
for whom Christ your Son,
by the shedding of his Blood,
established the Paschal Mystery.
Who lives and reigns for ever and ever. R/. Amen.
Please pause this video and retrieve your Bible so you can follow along.
The Passion Gospel today is: John 18:1 — 19:42.
I will not be reading the whole of the Passion, but an except for our reflection.
A reading from the holy Gospel according to John
Standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother,
and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas,
and Mary of Magdala.
When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple there whom he loved,
he said to his mother,
“Woman, behold, your son.”
Then he said to the disciple,
“Behold, your mother.”
And from that hour the disciple took her into his home.
After this, aware that everything was now finished,
in order that the Scripture might be fulfilled,
Jesus said, “I thirst.”
There was a vessel filled with common wine.
So they put a sponge soaked in wine on a sprig of hyssop
and put it up to his mouth.
When Jesus had taken the wine, he said,
“It is finished.”
And bowing his head, he handed over the spirit.
The Gospel of the Lord. R/. Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.
On Good Friday, while all the other apostles and disciples deserted Jesus, only John stood with Mary and the other women at the foot of the Cross. We are challenged to follow Jesus to Calvary even if we, like those first disciples, are scared and disheartened by the suffering and death of Jesus. We are not there to watch him die. We are challenged to participate in the passion by which our sins are forgiven and we have the chance to inherit eternal life.
Why was John there when everyone else fled? How can his choice help us make our choice when so many today don’t bother to recognize or appreciate the great sacrifice of Jesus for us? John was never satisfied living his life on the surface – a “what you see is what you get” attitude. He realized that life is spiritual as well as physical; he experienced the “heart” of Jesus in his words and miracles. John wanted all he could get of the unseen but equally real presence of Jesus, the Son of God.
John names himself “the disciple whom Jesus loved,” not because John was special or loved more than the others – Jesus would never do that. Rather, John allowed himself to be loved through and through by Jesus, which is actually how Jesus wants to love each of his disciples, (even today). John was transformed by the love of Jesus to be able to see the deeper truths of life and faith; John experienced the grace, the power of divine love, so that his own human limitations did not get in the way of following Jesus even to the cross.
This is meant to be our lesson for Good Friday: let Jesus love me through and through! Jesus loves me enough to die for me. He knows my sins better than I know them myself, and he knows my weaknesses and limitations, even my inability to appreciate his love. But he loves me all the same. I must accept and embrace the love of Jesus for it to transform me and give me that gracious courage which John used to follow Jesus to the cross.
Because of our self-doubt and tendency to see limitations and flaws more than goodness, we can believe ourselves unlovable, and certainly incapable of loving that much in return. So we flee when real love is offered or when we are challenged to love deeply. You and I must face this within ourselves to realize that Jesus loves us in spite of ourselves. Also, our ability to love in return is actually because he has first loved us. John understood this and was able to approach the cross.
Because John accepted the total love of Jesus, he could be strong enough to endure the agony of the cross as did our Blessed Mother. And this is why Jesus could entrust his mother to John, and through John to you and me today, if we let ourselves be loved from the cross. See the love, know the sacrifice, but be strengthened by this spiritual grace to accept Jesus’ invitation to love as he has loved. This is our path to eternal life!
There is no final blessing for the Commemoration of the Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ, because we end in silent veneration of the Cross, which you are invited to do with the final image of this video. We will use the Prayer Over the People to inspire this moment of veneration.
May abundant blessing, O Lord, we pray,
descend upon your people,
who have honored the Death of your Son
in the hope of their resurrection:
may pardon come,
comfort be given,
holy faith increase,
and everlasting redemption be made secure.
Through Christ our Lord. R/. Amen.