15 April 2022 – Good Friday (Friday of the Passion of the Lord) (Year C)

by Fr Francis Anthony

Isaiah 52:13-53:12
Psalm 30:2,6,12-13,15-17,25
Hebrews 4:14-16,5:7-9
John 18:1-19:42

Dear friends,

We call today ‘Good Friday‘. It seems ironical. We have him brutally tortured and crucified. He dies and we say ‘Good Friday‘.

I just want focus on one area of today’s passion – Jesus on the Cross. He said a few words but very importantly recorded by John, he says to his mother who was standing at the foot of the Cross, the disciples have all gone off with the exception of John and there were Mary, her sister, and Mary of Cleopas and to this brave woman to be able to stand there with the soldiers being so cruel to her son, he says:-

Woman, behold your son (indicating John at the foot of the Cross).

and then he says to John:-

Behold your mother.

Yes, very touching scene of Jesus, who is almost dying, and he hands his mother to his favourite disciple, John and John to his beloved mother. And the text says from then on, John took her to his home.

So we will see even at that moment of his agony, he was still looking for the good of others and in this particular case, for the good of his mother and also for the good of the Apostle John because it is a mother that is going to give him the guidance and John there is the one who is going to give Mary, the mother of Jesus, his protection.

That is the first part.

Then comes the more interesting part of this. When Jesus was dying, he is on the cross (imagine Mary and John at the foot), bowing his head, he gave up the spirit. Yes. For us, casual reading oh he came to the end, so he died. But when John was writing it, he measured every word. We cannot get the fact of it when we read it in English:-

Bowing his head, he gave up the spirit.

So when he bows his head, gave up the spirit, he breathed his last and his spirit is upon Mary and John. And it is there the church was established. Yes. And it is there at the foot of the cross the early church (if you want to speak of having received the spirit), it was Mary and John the beloved disciple.

Coming down to our days, Mary is the mother of the Church. And there John was representing all of us and million others. And today, when Jesus bows his head and gave up his spirit, we are enacting that Jesus giving his spirit to us here.

And to all those who are following the services online or not necessarily in Penang, anywhere, Jesus is strengthening his church. He is giving his church his spirit so that we will be able to move forward with all the hardships that come our way, to be assured, yes, we have the spirit dwelling in us.

And after giving the spirit, the last line that Jesus spoke was:-

It is accomplished.

Yes. What is accomplished? Not my death but the purpose of my coming is to save the people, the descendants of Adam and Eve. To save the followers of Abraham. To save all mankind. I, through my passion and death, I have done my role and I have saved them.

Yes, and that is why we will say today we are celebrating the victory of Jesus over death. He has saved us. The plan of God so loved the world He sent His only Son. And Jesus, he loved us so much, he died on the cross for us and through that, he has established the church, the initial church. We will be waiting for Pentecost. That is a confirmation, that is it.

Let us thank God for being so gracious, even at that moment of his suffering, he is thinking to the welfare of the people. And he has given us right at the foot of the cross Mary to be our mother, represented by John. Yes. And through John, we are the children of Mary.

So let us always remember when we say it is ‘Good Friday‘. We are celebrating the goodness that God has done for us. And this is the pinnacle. His victory on the cross has brought us salvation.

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