Today is a time for deep, spiritual pondering – helping us celebrate the true meaning of our lives as followers of Jesus Crucified. We’ve just celebrated the Lord’s Passion, and the words of St. John’s Passion narrative are all-too-real for us, inspiring and challenging us as they have for countless others.
The power and beauty of the Easter Vigil celebration await us later today; the words and water, fire and light, song and incense and flowers will help each of our senses to transition to the glorious Love Message which is our Risen Lord. Until then……we watch and wait and ponder.
An annual dimension of my Passionist reflection on Good Friday and Holy Saturday is a 1974 poetic meditation by Joe McCarthy in a book he wrote. I offer you a share in my prayer this Holy Saturday, as McCarthy reflects on “Good Friday”:
The park was named Gethsemane
A human figure shivered there
Lonely in the dark
His sweat turned red
Ran down upon his cloak
Was it nerve?
Or was it fright?
Not for nothing do men sweat blood
The night was quiet
Except for the snoring of his friends
And the hammering of some men
Setting up a cross
Upon a distant hill
His zero hour had come
The count-down had begun
He had to do the lonesome thing
He had to die
Like any other human
His heart recoiled
The usual concern occupied his mind
The question why?
Father let this pass,
Not my will but thine be done
His prayers were heard
But nothing happened!
The soldiers came and carried him away.
And late the next day upon the cross
At three o’clock he passed away.
The whispering people whispered ‘round
Indeed, He was the Son of God
Frightened by the dread of what was done
They all ran home their separate ways.
That night they woke in awful dreams
Crying in their sleep
Kneeling at their beds
They prayed to God that Jesus wouldn’t
But He did, not only them
But also us,
The rest is history!
Yes, Jesus Crucified “haunts” us as members of the Passionist Family! His love is real, his arms reach out from His Cross to embrace you and I, inviting us to accept His love – and share that love with our sisters and brothers. May Jesus’ love be a way of life for us all!
The word is “Easter”…Good Friday didn’t spoil the weekend…
Fr. John Schork, C.P. is the local leader of the Passionist community in Louisville, Kentucky.