Good Friday – April 6, 2012

In His Passion and Death, our Lord Jesus takes upon Himself all of our sin and pain.  He enters into our losses, our hurts and times when we are weighed down by suffering.  Wherever we have been rejected or abandoned by someone who should have loved us, Jesus was there, taking the pain to Himself.  Wherever our good name was harmed or whenever we were betrayed by a friend, Jesus was already there accepting the wound with us. Our Lord Jesus even becomes sin for our sakes, so that wherever we are weighed down by guilt, shame or discouragement, Jesus enters into our sin so closely, He endures all our inner anguish as if He Himself had committed the sin.

Why does Jesus go to such an extent to unite our pains and wounds to Himself?  Because out of Love, He wants to transform us into a new self; our real selves that we are meant to be with Him forever in Heaven.  This is really the whole journey of Lent.  We began Lent by remembering that we are dust and unto to dust we shall we return.  We began wanting our old selves, that selfish sinful part of ourselves to die and be reduced to ashes.  Now as we end Lent by looking at the Passion and Death of Jesus, we look up with Hope to His infinite Mercy.  For Jesus Crucified looking down into our souls from the Cross, conquers sin and death and then sees who we could become in His grace.

This is what His Divine Mercy is all about.  With compassion He shares in our misery, uniting our misery to Himself, burying it with Him in the tomb.  But in this Mercy there is contained infinite Power of new Life, and the tomb becomes a place of great Hope.  Today’s reading of the Passion ended with those beautiful words, “Now in the place where he had been crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb, in which no one had yet been buried.  So they laid Jesus there because of the Jewish preparation day; for the tomb was close by.”  Adam had sinned and lost grace in a garden.  Jesus, the New Adam, was crucified and then buried in a garden.

In His Divine Mercy, Jesus wants to change all the haunted houses, prisons and tombs in our hearts into beautiful gardens.  All those haunted houses in our souls, all those places of pain and sin where we are afraid to let anyone know, Jesus wants to enter in to make it instead a garden of new life, a new garden of paradise. 

This is what I try to remember whenever I have some struggle or place of pain in my life, or whenever I pray for another suffering person.  In prayer I love to go to the tomb of Jesus in faith.  Using my imagination, I love to enter the tomb where the wounded body of Jesus lay wrapped in a shroud.  With trust I go close to the wounded, bloody body of Jesus, right up to His pierced Heart, and I put my troubles or another’s suffering and pain right there into His wounded, Pierced Heart.  You can do the same with any of your hurts, pains or struggles with sins. 

Or you too can pray for another in this way.  Do you know of anyone who is struggling with pain, fears, doubts, addictions or sin?  Do you know anyone who is losing hope?  How about anyone not practicing their faith?  Do you know anyone struggling with anger, hurt, rejection, loneliness, anxiety or depression?
Then go with hope and confidence to the wounded Body of Jesus.  You can go to Mary Immaculate as she held the wounded Body of her Son when he was lowered down from the Cross.  As she tenderly holds the tortured Body of Her Son, go in your imagination with faith, and place in the Pierced Heart of Jesus all the pain and struggles of the person you are praying for. 

Or go into the new Tomb, where the wounded Body of Jesus lay wrapped in the Shroud.  Reach your hand underneath the Shroud, placing the pain, the hurt and the wounds of the person you are praying for, or your own struggles, and wait with Hope.  You could say a prayer such as this - “Jesus, I am helpless in this pain or struggle with sin, but I know that the Power of your Love and Mercy are infinite.  I put my struggles and pain, or the pain of so-and-so, right in your Pierced Heart and wait for the Power of your Resurrection and the Light of your Love to shine, driving away the darkness.”  Then wait in silent prayer with Mary Immaculate.  Wait with Her in deep Hope, knowing that the Mercy of Jesus wants to make all things new.

This is why the Passion and Death of Jesus is not a hopeless tragedy, but the real victory of God, because the Resurrection is coming.  There is nothing the enemy can do about it.  A New Creation has already been accomplished.  It is up to us to desire this New Self with Hope, not only for ourselves, but also seeing the potential of all those we pray for.

With Mary Immaculate, we can desire that new version of ourselves and others.  With the Life of Grace, the Life of Jesus’ Resurrection pouring into our souls, we can overcome vice and change… we can begin choosing the light of virtue.  The Mercy of Jesus wants this, so let us bury our old selves, and all our needs, with great Hope into the Pierced Heart of Jesus and wait for whatever miracle of Grace He wants to reveal in His Resurrection.