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Good Friday

April 10, 2009

Blessed Good Friday,

Today begins the novena of Divine Mercy. For the prayers, see:

Lord, by the suffering of Christ, Your Son,
You have saved us all from the death we inherited from sinful Adam.
By the law of nature we have borne the likeness of His manhood;
may the sanctifying power of grace
help us to put on the likeness of our Lord in Heaven,
Who lives and reigns, for ever and ever. Amen.
(Opening Prayer for today’s Mass)

Isaiah 52:13- 53:12 (God laid our guilt upon Christ)
Psalm 31:1-25 “Father, I put my life in your hands”
Hebrews 4:14-16, 5:7-9 (Jesus, our high priest, knows our weakness and pleads for us)
+John 18:1-19:42 (the Passion)

Today is the day of mercy.

It looks like anything but. Violence reigns supreme. Cruelty seems to have conquered. Never has such colossal injustice been committed on the face of the earth.

The brutality assaults our senses. We see the blood, the rough wood, the nails, the darkness. “So marred was His look beyond that of man, and His appearance beyond that of mortals.” (Isaiah 52:14)

We hear the pounding of nails, the agonizing gasps of a man suffocating to death, the jeers. We smell the sweat; feel the quaking of the earth.

This is mercy?

It is. This is what happens when infinite Goodness confronts our misery. This is what it looks and feels like when our great high priest, who knows our weakness from personal experience (Hebrews 4:15), takes on our burdens, our ugliness, our guilt, in order to lavishly pay the price of our rescue. This is the sacrificial Love that makes us holy, washing us in the bath of water by the power of the Word, that He might present us to Himself as a glorious Church, holy and immaculate, without stain or wrinkle or anything of the sort (see Ephesians 5:25-27).

One drop of His Precious Blood would have done the job. One drop shed at His circumcision on the eighth day would have been enough to pay the staggering debt of the whole world. But divine extravagance had His Heart set on a richer gift for His Bride, a more compelling expression of His Passion for Her. That’s why He emptied Himself…completely…opening His arms wide on the Cross to give Her everything (see Philippians 2:6-8).

Love blazes through the darkness for those who have eyes to see. The fountain of mercy floods the sin-sick world. He aches for souls to drink it in, to return His Love, and to bring forth new life.

Come, let us bring to this fountain every soul that has need of it and every sin-sick corner of our own hearts, begging His eternal Father, for the sake of His sorrowful Passion, to have mercy on us, and on the whole world.

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