A HOMILY FOR GOOD FRIDAY 2014 – ST. JOHN’S PASSION – 4/18/14 – SMG
Pax et Bonum! Peace and Goodness to you on this Good Friday.
As parents, and even as concerned adults, we want to protect our children from seeing bad things. We go out of our way and sometimes even to great extremes to make sure that they don’t see violence, or suffering, or abuse, or crime, or death. Responsible parents are even concerned about their children seeing these things on TV or at the movies. We protect our children from the worst of the world. And yet, if were honest we know, that far too often, our kids see way more than they should.
A few years ago, I went to see a new Al Pacino movie. Now I like Al Pacino. I think that he is a really good actor. I had a lot of hope for this movie. But three minutes into it, I realized that I was going to be going to Confession for being there. The language, the violence, and the adult situations were horrible. Then, I looked down at the people right in front of me, and I noticed that they had brought their four-year-old son with them to the movie. And I thought, I know this movie is inappropriate for me, but how much more inappropriate was the movie for a four-year-old. It’s like, What were those parents thinking?
Perhaps that’s the same question that we want to ask Mama and Papa Zebedee, about their young son, John’s, presence at Jesus’ crucifixion. We know that John was very young, possibly twelve or thirteen years old, when he went to follow Jesus. A crucifixion is NOT something that you would want your young teenage son to see. Even worse, it was his friend, his teacher, his mentor, Jesus. Normally, we would think that young John is going to have nightmares about this for a long time. Why would his parents let him see this? Why did his older brother, James, not make him come with him? Young John was close enough to that crucifixion that day to smell the blood. St. Matthew says that John’s mother, Mama Zebedee, was also there. So maybe he was accompanied by an adult. John himself doesn’t record that.
But this was not a pretty scene. The scourging, the crown of thorns, the nails, all of it was not something that a young teenage boy should ever see that close up. He was so close that Jesus could see him and talk to him. So why??? Why was John, the youngest of the Apostles, the only one to be at the foot of the cross that first Good Friday?
Well, first of all, later on John is going to be able to give a great witness to what happened that day. His written account is so important, that we read it together as a Church every Good Friday, as we just did.
That experience of being with Jesus, at the foot of the Cross, had a profound affect on young John, and would for the rest of his life. His presence on Good Friday would give him an even more astounding understanding of Easter morning.
And maybe even more importantly, young John stays out of commitment. He knows the others have run away, even his own brother. And John stays. He’s not going anywhere.
And maybe that’s the question that we ask ourselves today, on this Good Friday: Do we run away from God when things get challenging? Young John stayed. Would we? Do we? Think of what John would have missed, had he too run away? We pray on this Holy Day to stick with Christ at all times in our lives. Sometimes there are things that none of us want to see, or hear, or experience. But Good Friday proves that our God can get us through anything. Anything!
May God bless us today, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit… AMEN !!!
St. Maria Goretti… Pray for us !!!