Father Mark, Sermons

Good Friday

Jesus was alone–isolated from everyone.  Jesus was in excruciating pain.  And everyone ran away from him.  No one likes pain.  It’s human instinct to run from pain.  Human beings have to work through their natural instincts to run in order to risk sharing pain with another.   Today, no one was able to do that.

There’s a story about a classroom of seminary students that were arguing over the topic over the cause of human suffering, much like today, people argue over the causes of suffering and how to cure it.

Some argue that the causes come from selfishness, others say the cause boils down to racism, others say from delusional thinking.   When the priest of spiritual studies was consulted he said, “All suffering comes from a person’s inability to sit and be alone.”

Jesus did it alone.  He wasn’t selfish.  He wasn’t a victim of racism, his thinking was certainly not delusional, in fact those around him suffered from a delusional view of reality.   Jesus was alone.  The only resource he had was his Father.  And his Father was enough to transform Jesus in the midst of his agony to love through his wounds, the thieves on the cross next to him, to care for his mother, and to forgive the crowd.

Jesus teaches us to endure suffering—not to run away from it.  To seek escape from suffering by any means such as in ways to numb ourselves though the god of pleasure—such as in depressants, hallucinogens or stimulants by the normalization of marijuana, and other addictive behaviors or substances does nothing but to create more suffering behind the curtain of our consciousness where we refuse to look.

Jesus doesn’t melt when people laugh at him or curse him.  Jesus doesn’t complain to the Roman Soldiers cajoling them to control the crowd nor does he blurt out that they are being unfair while they are nailing him to the cross.  Jesus doesn’t whine.  He prays.  For them and to be one with his Father.

Isolation creates suffering and can exacerbate the suffering that we already endure.

Jesus is inviting us by his example, to meet us in his suffering.  He is also inviting himself to visit us in our suffering so that we may be transformed through it.  The gospel is not one of pain relief.  The gospel is one of the victory through and the transformation of suffering into the Divine Life with God.

So where is your suffering?   Perhaps you have been ill with the contagion that has swept the world, or know of those who are suffering with it.  Perhaps you have lost your job or business.  Perhaps you have lost loved ones and are grieving.  Perhaps you are suffering from broken relationships, or your sense of self and value has been compromised.   Perhaps you are saddled by anxiety or depression or anger and resentment.  Perhaps you have lost the ability to be with loved ones, to have followed through with plans, or to gather with your faith community during Holy Week.  For whatever reason you are suffering, this day is for you.

Of all the days of the year, this day, Good Friday, is the day we observe the suffering Christ and have the Divinely given opportunity to have Jesus come, touch us in our suffering, and to have him release our suffering into hell where it belongs and transform it and us.  But we can only allow Jesus to transform us in our suffering if we admit that we indeed, suffer.  Sometimes we have to pray to find the faith in order to accept our suffering and bear it before we can allow Jesus to remove it from us.

This Day is Your Day.  What suffering lies at the core of your being?  Be honest about it.  Ask the One on the Cross to help you bear it, so that you may die with him and then be transformed and made anew.

There is no Easter without a Good Friday.