The Friday of His Compassionate Goodness

Jesus— the Christ, the Anointed One, the Lord— died at the time of Passover on the weekday the Bible calls the sixth day.

The Bible has no proper names for the days of the week except the seventh day, the Sabbath.

The English name for the sixth day is Friday.

Although we don’t know the exact date of Jesus’ death, we celebrate ritually as its anniversary the day English calls Good Friday.

The Latin name for it in Catholicism translates into English as Friday of the Passion of the Lord.

But passion itself is a Latin word, and it means suffering.

Jesus chose his passion, his suffering, as COM-passion, as literally suffering with: suffering with us.

God in Christ came to be a flesh-and-blood human among us and with us on earth, to live as a member of our human race, to suffer because we suffer, and to die because we die.

Emmanuel, that is to say, God-with-Us— with us in everything!

His complete solidarity with us in life and death is sheer, unconditional love and goodness.

Though wholly innocent, he chose to shoulder solidarity and responsibility for all human sin from the first to the last.

The first sign Jesus personally gave of that intention was at the Jordan River: he got in line behind the crowds going to John the Baptist to confess their sins and receive a baptism, literally, a dunking, as to wash away their sins.

In Jesus, there were no sins to wash away, and so his dunking dirtied him, as it were, with the sin washed into the water from the world of human crowds.

Recognizing that truth, John the Baptist cried out as Jesus came to him for baptism: Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! [John 1:29]

Jesus’ baptism dunked him who was sinless into solidarity with all who sin.

Sin is the primordial cause of all that is broken and evil in the universe.

The paradox is that God should not have to shoulder that responsibility, but that God alone could shoulder by choice that responsibility.

Shouldering the responsibility for all human sin from the first to the last, and shouldering all that is broken and evil in the universe, Christ became sin itself so that his death would be sin’s death: For our sake God made Christ to BE SIN who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. [2 Corinthians 5:21]

The end of humankind’s old history as sin passes over into the beginning of humankind’s new history as the righteousness of God.

Christ rose from the dead, still a flesh-and-blood human, but in unimaginable difference and unimaginable newness.

He rose from the dead still in solidarity with our human race, but having carried our human race through sin and death, having carried our human race in himself beyond sin, beyond death, into a new life, and into glory.

By coming into the human race, dying with the human race, dying as the human race, and rising in the name of the human race, Christ gives us power and possibility for joyful life without end with God.

God-with-Us died and then rose beyond death into a new life as Humankind-with-God.

It is a struggle for our faith not to see in ourselves this victory of our destiny until the fulfillment of the world and its history.

We work at believing it, and we work to go on believing it.

Though Christ shouldered our responsibility, he does not leave us without freedom, without responsibility.

In answer to his goodness, we are to follow him.

As he in his goodness took on our suffering, he calls us to answer his goodness by our doing good to others who suffer.

Come, you who are blessed by my Father.
Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.
For I was hungry and you gave me food,
I was thirsty and you gave me drink,
a stranger and you welcomed me,
naked and you clothed me,
ill and you cared for me,
in prison and you visited me.
Amen, I say to you,
whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine,
you did for me.
[See Matthew 25]

In the goodness of his Eucharist, he tells us to do the same:
my Body GIVEN UP for you,
my Blood POURED OUT for you,

With memory, love, and thankfulness, let us carry the goodness of the Good Friday of the Lord’s Passion and Compassion into all our days, all our weeks, all our months, and all our years.

Ongoing Conversion
Ongoing Conversion

Published by Fr. Stephanos Pedrano, O.S.B.

Benedictine Monk and Priest of Prince of Peace Abbey, Oceanside, California, in the Order of Saint Benedict

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