Every year on Good Friday, we read the passage from the prophet Isaiah, the fourth Suffering Servant Song. Christians in the early church came to see the passage as speaking about Jesus and His suffering for the sake of others, although innocent of any sin Himself, so that the sins of humanity might be forgiven and the human community reconciled with God. What is noteworthy in the passage is how the innocent one, scorned and rejected by people, becomes the one who accomplishes God’s will and saves humanity from sin. We could say that people underestimated the person they saw—deemed Him unlikely to be of any value or worth in His dying. As we ponder Jesus on Good Friday, we can place ourselves in the position of so many who witnessed the crucifixion, believing Jesus to have failed in his chance at greatness, and to have become a disappointment to those who followed Him. Yet, what happened in the crucifixion has become the cornerstone of our redemption and the pattern of Christian life—the abandonment of self in obedience to God for the sake of others. This day, perhaps, we are called to ponder whether we too have underestimated Jesus and His power to save, thought of Jesus as an ancient memory of no real relevance to our lives today. There is power in the cross of Jesus. Today we reverence that cross and its purpose in our lives, a reminder that God comes to us in the least likely ways and even through the least likely people.
O Lord, help us to notice what You have done for us by dying on the cross. May we come to see Your hand at work in our lives when we least notice You or underestimate Your ability to touch who we are or what we do. This is our prayer in the name of Jesus, who died for us so that we may live. Amen.
Fr. David Theroux, S.S.E. ’70, Adjunct Professor of Religious Studies
Psalm 31:2, 6, 12-13, 15-17, 25
Second Reading: Hebrews 4:14-16; 5:7-9
Gospel: John 18:1—19:42
Daily Scripture readings can be found online at the USCCB website