We all have someone or something we hang onto. Last night I spoke about hanging onto the comfort of memory. The Early Christians hang onto the memory of the Eucharist to strengthen them. Today, on Good Friday we come to understand that the Church hangs onto the Passion of the Lord.
Christians search the scriptures for the meaning of the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Jesus. And there in the book of the prophet Isaiah they find the meaning. The True Servant of God, the Messiah, would have these traits:
- He grows up with us.
- He is a common person.
- He is a man of suffering and accustomed to wounds.
- As he gets older people lead him to slaughter like a lamb.
- And, as they pierce him he takes on himself the sins of the world.
Isaiah prophesizes the Passion of the Lord and they hang onto it. Why? In the words of Fr. Robert Barron, because “God journeys into God-forsakenness.” God enters into human violence, sin, and pain. God enters into our passion.
To illustrate, it is no coincidence that the beginning of Holy Week is the one year anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombings. The New York Times online features people who share stories of their recovery. Many find solace in keepsakes from that day. Today, meet Johanna Hantel, a clinical researcher from PA. The sounds of the bombings alone give her a traumatic brain injury. She breaks bones in one of her hands and dislocates fingers. Johanna finds solace in a tattoo, “4-15-13,” written right into her wrist, that same area that we find the wounds of Christ.
We ponder the Passion of the Lord today because Jesus is not someone who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses. On the contrary, we hang onto the Passion of the Lord because God wants to journey with us to the Resurrection.
The Rev. Fr. Dr. T. Becket A. Franks, O.S.B.
The Passion of the Lord
“Black Cross” Georgia O’Keefe
Photo credit: Fr. Becket Franks, O.S.B.