A Most Horrible Reality

2 Apr

“Christmas and Easter can be subjects for poetry, but Good Friday, like Auschwitz, cannot. The reality is so horrible it is not surprising that people should have found it a stumbling block to faith.”  ~ W.H. Auden

Good Friday is one of the most emotional days of the Triduum for me.  Each day is packed with its own imagery and glory.  Good Friday?  It is a day of sorrow, of grief so profound as to weigh a person down.  Why is that?

Perhaps it is because we realize that our sins placed Jesus on that cross just as much as the sins of the people in His time.  We cannot escape the fact that Jesus died for us and we cannot take away the shame or pain that He endured.

That knowledge makes us want to avert our eyes and find someone else to blame.  Surely Jesus died because of the sins of others.  There were and are many mass murderers.  They must have put Him on the cross.  There are many thieves.  They must have put Him on the cross.  There are many people who physically, emotionally, or sexually abuse others.  They must have put Him on the cross.  Yes.  They did.  All of them.  However, that doesn’t take us off the hook because we did as well.

We might try to deny that just as there are those who state that the Holocaust never took place.  Even confronted with the horrors of Auschwitz and places like it, they state that the Holocaust was made up.  Those around the camps at that time denied that what they were smelling down wind was burning flesh.  There is something in us that attempts to deny ultimate horror.

It is an ultimate horror to think that our sins put Jesus on the cross.  But, my friends, they did.  Let us not take any more time trying to deny that or minimize that.  Let us, instead, acknowledge the feelings that go through our mind when we think about that — shame, pain, horror — and tell Jesus that we are both extremely sorry and very grateful for what He had to do for us.

FAITH ACTION:  Reflect upon the mystery of the cross and thank Jesus for the death that He endured in order to save you from sin and death.

Good Friday is a Day of Fast and Abstinence