April 10, 2020

Good Friday Commemoration Services, 2:00 & 7:30 pm, Passion of John, Livestream

April 10, 2020, St. Maria Goretti, amid the Covid-19 Pandemic


It is very difficult for our parish family to not be gathered here today to commemorate the Passion of our Lord.  This year we are celebrating a lot like the Apostles did 2000 years ago.  Except for St. John, they were not physically present at the Crucifixion either.  They were hidden in the Upper Room, afraid of what may happen next.


The Good News is that all of you ARE here with us today.  You ARE present at the Crucifixion.  Catholics call this the Paschal Mystery.  Anytime we celebrate the liturgy, we are somehow mystically, mysteriously present at the saving events through the power of the Holy Spirit.  Christ’s death and resurrection are not mere historical events. They transcend time and space.  Distance and time can never separate us from God who is outside of time and space.


And because we ARE present at the Passion of the Christ, we need to see all of our challenges today in that light.  In our crosses we share in the Cross of Christ.   God is with us.  He is within us.  Calling us to join Him.  To bring to Him the scourge of the pandemic.  Our fears, sorrows and frustrations.   All of our needs and hopes.


As Catholics we call joining Jesus on the Cross redemptive suffering.   What is redemptive suffering?   It’s not difficult to understand.  Jesus invites us to simply unite our suffering to His.  To turn our suffering into a prayer.  To “offer it up”.  Just as Jesus became an offering Good Friday to bring salvation to the world, He now invites us to offer our trials through Him for the good and the salvation of the World.   To give our pain and sorrow meaning, value, and purpose.  To make it holy. Indeed, there is no greater form of prayer than to join our suffering to Christ on the Cross.


And so remember and adore Christ on the Cross today.  Even though His was enough to redeem the world on Good Friday.  He wants us to join Him, to share in it with Him. Because if we do this, we will learn to become sacrificial, to die to self, to not be afraid of anything, to become like Him, who is love and mercy itself.


So let us be like the good thief crucified next to Jesus;  Let us admit and repent of our sins that nailed Jesus to the Cross.  Let us become a new creation.   For if we are willing to die with Christ, then we will also rise with Him and attain Paradise, never separated from those who love Him.


And let us practice our redemptive suffering with JOY!   Yes Joy!  Christians rejoice in our suffering because we know that the Cross is the ladder to heaven.  We know that nothing on earth can take away our hope in eternal life.   This is the promise of Christ on the Cross.   This is why we sign ourselves with the Cross, to remind us of the source of our Hope and Joy.


Brothers and sisters, let us unite our suffering today to the Crucified Christ for an end to the pandemic and for a cure for Covid-19.  Let us believe with ALL our hearts in the saving power and eternal promise of the Cross.  May all who adore and venerate the Holy Cross of Jesus today experience His everlasting JOY because God always brings greater good out of evil.  We know that the Cross is not the end of the story. Victory & Resurrection await us! Victory & Resurrection await us!   Behold, the wood of the Cross on which hung the salvation of the world.   Come, let us adore.